What about all those others crucified
at the same time alongside, or before?
They weren’t Christians, not yet invented,
but any meaning their crosses had carried
was stripped away, compounding nakedness.
His people, once he had left and returned,
gave it just to him, took it for their own:
as always, no arguing with success.
He said and they said he died for your sins
though maybe you’d thought you’d died for your own,
but how many truly own our own death?
To his credit he, too, knew innocence.
There’s a phrase now: collateral damage.
Changes nothing, but at least we name it
Like young gazelles, two sun-washed gilded girls,
one with a ponytail, one top-knotted,
and, like gazelles, not knowing their beauty,
dismounted our slow bus on the hillside
and loped across the road to their trailhead;
my eyes went with them, all of me followed,
as they danced up the rise through the grasses,
into the sorcered woods, away and gone;
the bus groaned with me as we moved onward.
I did the math: together half my age.
Happily, hearts know no arithmetic.