This secret I’ve harbored has ossified,
basted with denial until hardened and smooth,
to sit in my heart like bone with no sharp edges
to prick my flesh or my conscience,
until I heard the people shouting in the streets,
and I knew it was starting all over again;
the parade, the waving, your winsome smile,
the knowledge that this is the end
and not the beginning, and suddenly
within the heart’s bone that I carry
there is movement as it pips and breaks free
and I confess at last it was me who betrayed you.
I took the silver but he took the blame, and when
you sent him on the mission unlike all the others’,
I hurried ahead to make sure it was done.
In the grove where the others slept and
you begged God for a change of plan,
I stood watch, guarding against a change
in yours, and when the time came with
torchlight through the trees, I gave the signal
with a kiss, but not on the cheek as the story goes;
it was full on your mouth,
and I tasted your sweat and fear,
and you tasted mine,
Then I melted into darkness with the others, and
before the rooster awoke I denied you completely.
I called for your death, and I stripped and
beat you, then washed my hands and nailed
you down. On the cross beside you I cursed
your complacence, and I stood in the shadows
holding my breath ‘til you breathed no more.
I despise this turning of the seasons, when it all
comes round once more; you in your resolve to die
and me in mine to make it so. It’s a horror,
but it will always be the same; I’ve kept the
bloodied crown for you to wear again,
and I confess, though you know it well,
that it’s me. I crucify you.
© dana s. hughes 4.5.14