(after Raphael) by David D. Nolta
St. John passed Jesus a note: “Are you the lamb of God?” Jesus, who never found anything odd, Even as a baby, Sharpened his pencil and wrote, “Yes! No… Maybe?”
The Baptist would not be deterred. He himself was no usual boy. He countered the playful, predictable ploy— So like his cousin— Insisting he state in a word What state he was in.
Now Jesus, who always faced Patiently pressure from kin (Families, he knew, tend to fence you in), Bit his lip, then, as one newly smitten Cancels all previous vows, erased What he had written.
Upon receipt of the page The budding precursor shook, He read in the blank as he might in a book —And a heavy one, too—his fate And the world’s: a makeshift stage, A dance and a silver plate.
The smaller boy seemed to see These same things with less worrying, And more beyond: a crowd of people scurrying Over a mountain of skulls Past his mother, toward a tree Circled by crows and gulls.
Though younger, and not unafraid, He glowed like a sacrifice. The elder, interpreting this as advice, Resolved to consider not solely What we are, not how we’re made, But how made holy.