XI. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

For boys who pull the wings off beetles
Or prick their sisters’ backs with needles,
     They spread his hand to take the nail.

For we who meet in dark motels
To clasp a stranger to ourselves,
     His palm split as they drove the nail.

You, the one who frisked through her purse,
When she stepped out to find the nurse,
     For you they placed a second nail.

While I got drunk this afternoon,
A child’s skull was torn from the womb,
     Its cries rung in the hammered nail.

This whole world is a pile of skulls.
We like it so, lest days grow dull.
     Watch them brace his feet for the nail!

For us, who keep our kitchens clean,
Who’d never have ourselves thought mean,
     We had them drive the final nail

And set him hanging, his fists bleeding,
While we went shopping, shooting, feeding,
     And in his shadow pared our nails.

Articles by James Matthew Wilson