This unlikely tomb this once plundered vault this meager poke of broken power this moldy hole in the foothills of Zion and of the soul this piddling down to fissure and fault this dry womb delivered us the earth angel Jes-us just like us only wanting out more than in yet staying there long enough to cup one last beatitude for those in ruin and touch the souls of hell’s angels on his way here.
So Jesus’ wealthy friends did prove useful in the end. All four narratives seem to agree on this. Joseph, after all—the one from Arimathea, not his Dad— Joseph pulled strings with Pilate. Did he have to call in a few favors earned in questionable ways so he could claim possession of the corpse? Old Nicodemus too, Jesus’ night-shift friend from the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus makes his own fleeting reprise, carting along a ton—almost—of fragrant spices, nard and myrrh (again!), for preservation purposes. Although where he got such pricey stuff, late on a holiday Friday afternoon, is never quite explained. And that convenient, fresh-hewn, garden tomb; even back in the day, sepulchres such as those did not come ten-a-penny! Add in all the hired help they must have needed to get stuff from here to there and, of course, to roll and seal that massive rock . . . Whole thing makes you wonder—doesn’t it?— wonder if that narrow needle’s eye got prized wide open— camel-size, at least—to accommodate these late allies.
My head clangs, my skin congeals when I imagine your final terrain: the moldering gloom of the cave, giant stone corking the mouth to seal your body in— you bid me to imitate you, even in this? Until you rise, Love, I am useless. Stretching in a long rectangle of wall-shade, I pretend my hand crumbles dank sepulchral dirt. Listen. In the corner, one cricket abides. Soft-shelled and tooth-white, he chirrs his dwarfed wings, persistent song his answer to the absence of light.