by Zoo Member28 Sep 2013
In poetry class one day
the professor read aloud a student’s poem.
Oh, it sounded lovely, especially
as read by that revered man,
each syllable round, warm, mahogany.
We smiled in silence afterward.
Then the professor said to the young poet,
“But what are you actually saying?”
And he walked through the verse line by line.
Soon we saw how absurd it was. Rabbits don’t canter;
love doesn’t gambol. We laughed ourselves to tears,
Mr. Young Poet too, or at least he made a good show of it
behind his artful lock of hair.
Too bad you weren’t there. Maybe you would have learned
not to portray yourself as Jesus,
nor the one you’re fucking as the Virgin Mary.
(Unless it’s a joke: And then God said, “What did you just call me?”)
That must make me Pontius Pilate,
except that he at least knew Jesus had a mother.
On our honeymoon, hand in hand, you and I sought out the real Pietà,
past the crowds swooning to glimpse
the tiny white-capped head on the big balcony,
inside the hush of the Basilica, behind a further wall of silence:
Love and suffering so crushing it couldn’t be stone.
I could hardly make out the sculpture through my tears, then.
Now I never want to see it again.
Yet I can’t help but recall the face of that young mother,
having since become one.
The older I get, the more incredible she seems. It turns out
one can’t always laugh at the absurd.