#poem #poetry #writer #religious #religion #crucifxion

"Dog dong. You, Sardine, two. Talapia, six.
Hands off. Six, Six." Creaking wicker baskets
spill their guts, glistening bloodied, dark fin,
sliding, slipping, gills gasping, mouth agape.
Clattering coins smack down, elbows jab, "Six,
six, not five, six. Dog dong." Rigging rings tap,
loose furled sails waft sunlight on buyer's backs;
light to dark, shout and trade, profit then eat.
I secure my basket, careful to cloth mask
that one twig that hates me, seeks my kidney.
"Dog dong, Dog dong, sardine two, pay up."
Damp morning still hangs wet upon the air.
Horizon haze lengthens earth's rim skyward,
pulling trees into ghosts. Sun washed houses
open shutters to bleach them fresh of night.
Sleepy caught morning bread burnt odour fades
in the ferment and grind of women's work.
I stop to shift my burden at the spot
on the river, where yesterday crowds came.
Abandoned shoes, snaking girdles, belts,
lie on the near shore. Whilst on the far bank
nothing remains, except a single wreath
of thistles, purple bright among the reeds.
Cresting the brow, I see a crow fly straight
to the inauspicious tree, on which hangs
a slave. The patient crow lands, struts, listens
to the four dark figures, impervious,
standing beneath its meal. As I draw near
I hear the tax collector and doctor
engaged in heated wrangle for the nail.
The carpenter hands the soldier his stave.
As the wood splits her groin, she sags, exhales,
her white eyes look up to heaven in joy,
as the candle of her arms gutters, dims
the burning blood trapped within her head.
Unmoved, the taxing Samaritan claws
at the deal, for the nail tearing again
at the young girl's flesh as the soldier turns
back to the carpenter releasing the shaft.
I pass by, half turning to shield my load
from the tax collector's calculating eye.


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