Simon of Cyrene

after James Wright

I saw the spears, the cross, the crown of jest.

Behind, a shove—I fell out from the crowd.

I felt the press of wood against my chest.

Beneath his yoke, I bore the weight; too proud

To hold the gaze that came from eyes of ash,

Though days ago, I stood with palm leaves strewn.

My help was like the morning’s missing lash:

He had to live to see the afternoon.

Now every day I wake and walk that hill again.

The dust, the sun, the thorns, the ache of stones—

The details freshly resurrected when

Once at the top, I sit among the bones—

The wine and gall, the dice, the final cry.

I tasted death with him, then watched him die.

—Madeleine Fentress

About the Author

Madeleine Fentress is assistant editor of The Hudson Review. Originally from St. Louis, she lives in New York.

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