by Mary Karr
Sure we’re trained to his suffering, sure the nine-inch nails, and so forth. And the cross raised up invoked the body’s weight so each wound tore, and from his abdomen a length of gut dangled down, longing towards earth. He was a god, after all. An eternal light swarmed in his rib cage no less strong than the weaving nebulae that haul this dirt-speck planet through its course. Surely his flesh mattered less somehow, less than yours to you. He hung against steel rods with his whole being, and though the pain was very pure, he only cried out once. All that was writ down. But what if his flesh felt more than ours, knew each breath was a gift, and thus saw beyond each instant into all others. So a morsel of bread conjured up the undulating field of wheat from whence it came, and the farmer’s back muscles growing specific under this shirt and the sad, resigned pace of the mule whose opinion no one sought. Think of all we don’t see in an instant. Cage that in one skull. If Christ saw in each pair of terrified eyes he met every creature’s gauzy soul then he must have looked down from that bare hill and watched the tapestry teem till that poor carcass he borrowed wept tears of real blood before they unhooked it and oiled it and bound it round with linen and hid it under a stone, to rise again or not, I can only hope.
"Christ's Passion" by Mary Karr, Viper Rum, New Directions, 1998
“Jesus is nailed to the cross” by Anna Kocher. See the rest of her work here.