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.