A Poem For Sunday


"Gethsemane," by Kelly Cherry appeared in The Atlantic in April, 1988:

On a hill backlit by twilight,
the disciples gather like crows
for the night.

This is their down time, time to browse
among the olive branches, Christ with them,
their apostolic flight slowed at last to a head-nodding drowse,

to a flutter of tattered cloak, the unraveling hem
dragging in the dirt like a hurt wing.
They flock momentarily around him,

then settle down, safe in the soft swing
of wind that rises and then falls back
with the deepening evening

into the distance, and sleep, while Christ's black
feathers burn in his father's fist,
plucked by God before by Judas kissed.

(Photo of Lindsey Lummus, 10, watching as the funeral hearse carrying the casket of nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green arrives at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church in Tucson, Arizona. By Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.)