The Lenticular Life of Christ
Five scenes worked into a ruler two inches per scene
comes up short—a metaphor, we take it.
What’s lost, though, is boyhood: the baby plays host
in inches 1 and 2, in 3 and 4 the grown-up god
muscles a lamb near a yellow door. The rest is proto-memorial:
last meal (5,6), last doubt (7,8), last breath (9,10),
the latter fanned by the lift of a woman’s arms.
No Temple Jesus, the little show-off,
and it’s odd lamb out, though we recall Abraham’s crucial
substitution, note how Bethlehem’s newborn has been switched
for another small animal. But why the assault
on that yellow door? In loose robe and two-day beard,
grim Jesus pummels it with his fist, in his other arm
the lamb’s legs jerk, its smudgy snout wheels toward sky
flaps helplessly. Just then the lamb doesn’t want to be carried
in the arms of his life. In the next room Jesus
is hungry, he’s already lifting bread to his mouth,
at the Cross two inches over a woman raises and lowers
empty hands and on the other side of the ruler’s
narrow world, red wings beat steadily from 2×1 to 9×9.