reading through the four gospels
one after the other
each time hoping that Jesus
would come down off the cross
as if he could somehow learn
from the experience of the previous gospel
as if each time the story started over
there was a chance for a different ending

Matthew — he dies
Mark —he dies
Luke — again
one more chance — come on Jesus!
come on God the Father!
but no — in John he dies too
bravely, but willingly, passively
and abandoned by God

I remember the darkness,
the emptiness
the resurrection stories didn’t hold my attention
I read them quickly, skimmed them
anxious to get to the next gospel
to see if the outcome would change
they seemed unlikely and awkward
tacked-on happy endings
strange and not credible to an eight year old
who already knew that dead was dead
and they didn’t address the issues anyway

injustice, cruelty
tragedy
that God would abandon
such a good and decent soul,
the loss
that we would be robbed of uncounted future years
of his teachings

resurrection as ad hoc afterthought
weak and transparent

crucifixion as what it is

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