John 8 (a poem in three parts)

by Kirsten Wilson
©2011

i
Jesus

sometimes i take my finger
write my law
on stone tablets
for moses to carry down mount sinai
to the people

sometimes my finger
writes judgment
on palace walls
of evil kings
fiery letters of coming
doom

but dust is my favorite canvas
not stone
not walls

sometimes i scoop up
dust and shape it
with my fingers
breathe life into it
make man
make woman

like all of you
standing round me now
watching me
stoop down and draw
my finger through the dirt

can you feel
the touch of my finger
in your dust-born heart

let the stones fall
let the stones fall from
your hands

my best stories are not written
on stone

dust is my favorite canvas

ii
Pharisee

why will the stone
not fly from my hand

moses said
moses said
she should be stoned
for her sin

but now this jesus says
whoever is without sin
among you

let him throw the first stone

and the stone in my hand
won’t fly

iii
Woman

guilt
has the gritty
taste of sand
mixed with fear and blood

i tried
not to look
during the frenzied moments
dragging me
to this place

but before i landed
licking dust
pebbles grinding into my skin
i saw the eyes
of the men who pushed me
down

accusing eyes
righteous and
oh so very right
in their zeal

hungry eyes
tracing the silhouette
of my naked self
i saw the lust flicker
as they stored the memory
of my shape
in the secret bedroom
of their minds

startled eyes
quickly averted
but not before i saw
reflected in them
the certainty
of my coming death

then
with the soft thud of dropped stones
and the stammered shuffle
of departing feet
all the eyes are gone

all but his

and his eyes they meet me
with such intensity
it drives the air from my chest

even were i clothed
it seems
i would stand naked before him

and i understand why my accusers ran

but i
keep looking
his eyes will not look away
keep looking
hear him say
has no one condemned you

so many men have undressed me
with their eyes
have scorned
and glared
and judged

but they are gone
and his eyes look at me
not to possess
but to create–
God before he rested
forming me
up out of the
gritty dust

dressing me with his eyes
clothing me with
mercy and
dignity and
honor

and i find myself clothed more richly
in my brokenness
than ever when i was whole
clothed so richly
in his eyes
my heart finds hope that i might indeed

go and sin no more

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