On the occasion of the release of the Senate torture report

        In Piero della Francesca’s
“Flagellation of Christ,”
            The room is needlessly spacious

        For the blunt work at hand.
Three figures in the foreground
            Take no notice of the violence.

        Except for the purpose
Of composition,
            They are superfluous.

        Some critics argue these three
Are Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea
            And the beloved disciple John,

        Who will later bribe the authorities,
Claim the body of their friend,
            And bury him in a borrowed grave

        Once the humiliations,
Beatings, and execution end.
            At this distance, Jesus

        Appears to console his tormenter,
Whose right hand is raised
            As if in protest

        (One can barely see the whip.)
How hard it is to do my job,
            He complains, and not feel put upon.