He’s not here

There’s no Jesus on the page.
No church or priest or wafer.
He’s a dark figure. An inky
character he is, that Jesus.
Here there’s no ink for him.

These are not holy words
and this is no evangelistic sermon.
It’s no polemic. This poem’s plain,
as plain as rain and oil and wine.
It may speak of a rough-cut slab,

but there’s no altar and no wood.
There’s no ram or holocaust.
The writing’s black marks
like smudges on a linen cloth
under a kind and lambent light.