Feast of Passover, Circa A.D. 32
In the cool darkness, lit only by the Temple
braziers, the olive tones of your robe
are enfolded in the deeper
greens of evening, only the gold braid
at wrists and hem reflects in the
Your presence, not your words,
frame the residual question,
artesian longing drawing you back
to the Rabbi whose words
startle you, whose actions magnify the
presence of a gracious God.
You knew He would be here in
the gazophylakion, the hall of the Treasury.
The fragrant oils stored nearby, whisper
their occasional message.
On a raised platform, eleven trumpets for
alms rest between marble pillars.
You have come perplexed, bringing
your cynicism, curious
to know more about this one whose
awesome wisdom upsets your own.
His eyes focus on your doubt.
He guesses your question. Chides.
He confounds your literalness,
makes them of no consequence.
Being born is not a matter of
He talks of Scripture, of
Moses raising the bronze serpent
before his impatient, suffering people
in the stillness of the desert, and of
Himself being lifted up.
How can you understand the sign—
not the mark on the lintel of the house,
the sign of exclusion for Passover,
but the sign of the cross, inclusion,
when it has yet to happen?
In enigma, in anticipation,
He calls you to contemplation,
to a gaze that will blind
the darkness of your life
and lift you up forever.
Ann Power is a retired faculty member from The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where she worked as coordinator for the Bibliographic Instruction Program, University Libraries. Before that time she worked at both Louisiana State University (as a graduate student) and Wright State University teaching Freshman Composition and American Literature. She has published in The Pacific Review (CSU, San Bernardino), The Puckerbrush Review, Limestone, Spillway, The Birmingham Poetry Review, and The American Poetry Journal.