Good Friday, 1996

On Holy Thursday they found her body

snaking down the Eel River, blond hair

hiding decomposed flesh. Her family

mourned her on Good Friday —



The Unabomber sits in jail, just charged.

A math professor gone bad; theorems turned

into action, into horrible corollaries.


Rescuers search for our Commerce Secretary

who did not know what broke when

his military jet mistook a mountain for a cloud.


Too much has happened this week.

My colleagues call this a good news day.

They are spared from running fluff on the cover.

This all sells. People want to know —

Was she nude? Did she use drugs?

Did he really survive on parsnips?

Did the Bosnians sabotage the plane?


I chose not to sit and pray

to remember the day He died

while others stood by wanting to know

when he would die or if

the weight of his hung life,

the nail holes, the knife wound

in his side or the disgrace

would erase his life.


I had a deadline

for the magazine I write

and really no deadline at all other

than my wanting Easter Day off

and the week to play,

to enjoy my son’s fourth birthday.


Forgive me my vanity, my values,

O Lord, I pray;

Forgive me for my work —

the glory I take in my son’s joy,

the fear I feel for him, for my daughter,

for my soul’s struggle for perfection.


I am too human.

I would watch you die,

write it down, write

how the blood streaked your side like wine

and your mother wept into her veil,

while I asked the guards

to spell their names for me

so that I could get it right.

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