Poem | The Crucifixion

The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds

—Paul Linnman of KATU-TV

 

What now? In a forty-five foot, eight ton mound, the dead sperm whale

     washed a question ashore: once given, how do you go about giving god back?

 

So isn’t it shameful that we, still unknowing, will answer with dynamite?

     Monkish distraction: this quick digging the pits beneath the enormous

 

bearded flank, handkerchiefs guarding our faces from the real work at hand,

     which is looking—isn’t it?—a difficult looking at slipping away, an end

    

larger than ours, decay. That’s the task we all return to, however briefly,

     when the easier business of shovels is done. Backs on dunes, sandwiches

 

on our sandy laps, we try to watch the blubbered hall go on not moving.

     There’s not much to see. Early clouds the size of countries ride over us

 

and slip off unrememberable. New questions flock. Spirals of terns and gulls

    collapse from the sky to pick at the carcass staunch as a church. A god

 

has come. What will make it matter? Fire, nails, camera, action. As if

     we make the unimaginable more: we plant the charge, we run the cables.

Published in the February 20, 2015 issue: 
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Anthony Carelli lives in Brooklyn, New York. “Faith” and “No, Euripides” are from Carnations, his first collection of poems, just published by Princeton University Press.

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