Doubting Thomas

I was tired of the smoke
and mirrors. The loaves, the fish,
but not nearly enough time.

What could I say to him, friend
I buried, when he woke and called to me
softly from the shadows?

Go now. The business of faith
bores me. I could take it or leave it.
Understand, I touched his wounds

because I wanted to feel
his warmth on my own hands.
If I doubted anything then,

it was humanity. Disillusionment
is what happens when men
dabble in magic. Celebrity is a tree

on fire and of the thousands
standing near, none is near enough
to lick the flames from your face.

Once the embers burning
above us were enough. I believe
he doubled back from death

to breathe home’s balmy air,
to stand in light among us
one last time beneath the high

heavens. For this brotherhood
I lose a brother; I spit upon the lot
we’ve drawn. So much for twilight

spent floating on the river, talking
of women we were not to love,
and of their skin scrubbed sweet

as tangerines. So much for nights
we passed in the desert, drunk
under the young stars whose names

were new. Once my friend
agreed: No one could recognize
each luminous body across

this broadening, eternal cleft.

Originally appeared in Poetry Northwest


Lamp of the Body

Lamp of the Body