Truth Be Told

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