Monday, February 7, 2011

"In Caravaggio's ikon"

© John Robert Lee 2010

“In Caravaggio’s ikon”

In Caravaggio’s ikon of Thomas seeing Christ
all eyes are locked to the doubter’s firm finger
poking around the torn flesh, under

the strong hand of the Carpenter. Thomas,
Apostle to our secular, mocking, murderous
new age, meeting his worst-case scenario

with the firm grit of flesh under his thumb
that index of incarnation— incarnation, Immanuel
God is with us — under the impossible rubble

as we claw at the unimaginable earthfall, Immanuel—
over the body of someone’s son fallen in crossfire
in shrieking shadowlands of betrayal

through terminal disorientation of disease, Immanuel.
Because that wound is real, the death was certain
here, beyond reason, beyond the apocalypse

of  private disasters, is something else
is Life beyond life, beyond heartbreak
beyond assassination, beyond the tremblor

at 3 in the afternoon, beyond the amnesiac cancer of the mind.
Here, under our finger, is faith, here is hope,
and He asks us, against the brutal heel on the locked door

the harsh fist of imploding earth
the shroud covered bier—
“Love one another.”

© The Incredulity of St. Thomas. Caravaggio, 1602.

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