Poem for the Holy Week

24 Mar

This is one of my favorite poems by Katie Ford. I can’t stop going back to it and the last line stabs into me again and again.

 

The Shroud of Turin

You see I am not certain you see the cloth held up to the light betrays
an imprint of the whole body glands seeping out what was in

them before death consider where else would it go but out I suppose this
is what I will do when I miss the beloved lay his bedsheet on carpet take

my hands brace my body over it see my shadow twine into his
a hawk spans the undiminished canyon darkens all of it from above

this bolt of linen undone as time fades into as it was in the beginning
hawk at birth unstreaked come methodology of absence how something grows

more absent what will fill what will be avian be predatory I am not certain what
to do here above the knitted sheet knitted tight enough to hold the shade

passing through to the upper limit of descent the has been scientific inquiry
into the ancient bedclothes it can’t be they say but then the realism of the print

when photographed one replies someone was here I would cross open spaces
for fictitious evidence yes he was here not Jesus no it’s not him that I want

I confess it is not his cloth I pass my body over oh I sense the spread of a hand
here bird-shadow here there will be miles and miles between us between

Golgotha and Italy hills and dusks and waters see they insist we know
what a shroud is what likeness is please do not prove anything away.

from Deposition by Katie Ford

 

actual detail juxtaposed with the negative image of the Shroud of Turin

actual detail juxtaposed with the negative image of the Shroud of Turin

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