Hans Maler’s Christ Carrying the Cross
The man in the codpiece yanks you to your feet
with a leash of rope noosed to your neck.
A thin fellow in a yellow tunic lifts a stick
to smack you on the back of the head beneath
that crown of thorns. He shouts, “Up faggot!”
as the crowd gawks, jeers, and laughs at you.
Jesus, you’re as vulnerable as a tongue, as two
tied thumbs. In this painting I almost forget
that many worship you as God or Savior;
to me you’re nothing but a man fallen into
the hands of liars, torturers, assassins. You’re
looking around, desperate for help: two
or three weep for you for what that’s worth.
God knows it’s not their hour, their day, their earth.
Matthew Murrey’s poems have appeared widely, recently in Rust + Moth, The Inflectionist Review, and Topical Poetry. He’s an NEA Fellowship recipient, and his debut collection, Bulletproof, was published in 2019 by Jacar Press. He’s a recently retired public school librarian and lives in Urbana, Illinois with his partner; they have two grown sons. His website is at https://www.matthewmurrey.net/ and he is on Twitter @mytwords.
The Ekphrastic Review
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