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  • Michele Waering

Thursday in a Hamburg Museum

by Michele Waering

There was no denying him

small and sun-gilded in a thicket of treasure;

even with all the paint worn away from him

and the donkey’s coat. So small

I could have put my arms around him,

dragged him away from naked crucifixions

to Damascus, to Persia, to India.

Come away, come away, forget Jerusalem, be safe.

But then, He would not be Christ

and the master carver might have struggled

to bring Odin out of the tree, to fall in love,

caressing fingers and long hair into life,

to set ravens on icy shoulders.

And you would have sworn they had flown there;

just as you understood that the donkey would pick

his way forward and the beautiful Christ

would disappear under the hideous gate,

and all that was to happen, would happen.

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