This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Mark D. Bennion.
After the earth let go of its heaving—
its windburned, tossing lamentation—we
pull until nails come loose, lochs of blood
and wood merge with implements of our trade:
lantern light, cloth, ladder, worship, fasting,
a rope to lower the swollen body.
Thorn’s imprints and bruises fixed to his head.
We wash hardening limbs and sense the staid,
breathless, suppressed voice is now expressing
hope for the downtrodden, the enemy,
the criminal claiming another’s stead.
To wrap up the legs and cover the face
is our brazen gesture in this dying,
this suffering amid wild olive trees.
What redemption comes without something shed?
We touch the back’s stripes, how the skin persuades
once more of the flesh’s descent, bearing
the consequence of all we try to see,
a muted view accompanying the dead.
We carry the corpse—forlorn, humbled, brave.
Since 2000, Mark D. Bennion has taught writing and literature courses at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He enjoys trying to help his students become better disciples of Christ and diligent scholars. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Mark has had his work appear in The Cresset, Dappled Things, The Lyric, Spiritus, and Windhover. Last year, Resource Publications published his book Beneath the Falls: poems. Mark and his wife, Kristine, are the parents of four daughters and one son.