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The accom­pany illus­tra­tion was drawn in April 2021 as a med­i­ta­tion on the humil­i­a­tion and bru­tal­iza­tion of Christ, mod­eled after the Cru­cifix Gallino — a nude poly­chromed corpus of lime­wood — dating from 1495 and attrib­uted to Michelangelo.

Hewn timber beams from heart of sap-bled pine
Laid out in the antic­i­pa­tion of that crime,
Which in its cul­mi­na­tion wrought in death,
Debases full the bondage of our debt.

Flayed out and spat upon, in trumpery decked,
The accusèd wracked and in reprisal wrecked,
For mere the want of love engen­dered full,
Stripped of humanity, the victim’s toll
Sub­mitted to the gate-guard of the whole,
Entered the redempt’ry sac­ri­fi­cial rôle
Excised by nature, by will dispossessed,
Eternal promise by same will suppressed.
Grace offered and denied, a litany refrain,
In every era this the godhead’s pain —
Undone by act of clement good­ness just,
To save as needed saved, dis­jointed dust.

Who like a common debtor took the debt,
And like a slave to labor did submit,
And like mere man in flesh was thusly shroud,
By con­de­cen­sion humble, for worth­less proud.
Which love hanged on a tree today to die,
On mount of rot and bone, ’neath black­ened sky.
Erected as a thes­pian stages plays,
The mob in blood­thirst there to fix their gaze
Upon the gory scene, that grisly dance —
The beams, the earth, the nails, the jeers, the lance.

For­saken, no, for those as dust shall bow,
Pos­terity shall serve, recount, and show,
Last breath, tete­lestai, last spirit pull,
So billed, the ledger-entry: Paid in full.

Deposed, rests nes­tled near the mother’s rib,
Cold, blud­geoned face yeilds to then pur­pled lip.
The crowds dis­perse, the cur­tain call is made,
Last final hope of all is smitten, slayed,
Enwrapped and spiced upon a slab is laid,
The portal shut as evening sun-rays fade.

Unknown the pay­ment ten­dered, and so adjourn,
Uncon­scious of impending tri­umph and return.