BEHIND THEM ALL by Ann Noble

BEHIND THEM ALL

--to all the beings who work and live in Tower One

 

Jesus crouched on the concrete,

His hands and face desperate 

for the fresh air that might dart through

the infrequently opened food-tray slot;

His eyes, at times, were clouded in confusion;

At other times, the rebellion and rage dripped from them,

with or without tears;

Sometimes they were the eyes of a child,

wild and wonder-full;

And then, there were the eyes of Death:

a despair so deep

it would blast through this incarnation

if left unrestrained;

But behind them all,

the unmistakable clarion call of

"See me.  See me.  See me."

It was there.

It was there even when He refused to come to the door,

preferring to remain haphazardly swaddled

in a lone soiled blanket

on a stripped metal bunk,

His tender bare feet all to be recognized

from under the hopeless, anonymous lump:

See Me.  See Me.  See Me.

It was there.

He was there.

He was even there in the knuckles,

covered in non-latex safety gloves,

as they rapped on the glass with a necessary shout:

"You want ashes?...It's Ash Wednesday

...Ashes!...It's a blessing!"

Is it?

A tentative offering of a weary forehead

to the kiss of blackened fingers

within a shroud of the quiet recitation

and a great wish that behind the text and the touch

will be heard: 

"I see you.  I see you.  I see you."

Our Lord,

shackled and shunned, aching for release;

Our Lord.

We see You.

May we one day free You.

 

                      Ann Noble