Charles Swanson

“AND ALL WE NEED OF HELL”
(Emily Dickinson)

Were I to write of hell
(Am I not writing hell?)
What more could I wish
than the unearthing swell

of forehead, of cranium
eyeless and round
(a Wilfred Satty spook)
rising from the ground.

So Golgotha (hard g’s
like Megiddo) swelling
dark against dark sky
skull name foretelling

the form that would hang
road worn and skeletal
against a solar eclipse,
like fire-black metal

outside Jerusalem.   Spikes
tearing the flesh,
he must have pushed
upward against the post,

his back into splinters, just
to breathe longer,
drowning on the fluid
pooling in his lungs.

Welts of whip marks
strangling like grapevine,
a wreath of wooden thorns
jammed above his eyes

gagging on his love.
What more can I tell?

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