As I nailed him I deafened myself to the shafting
of steel through taut wires of tendons, through
flesh, past pain that snuffed out all thought.
Did I look into the bottomless eyes
and whisper I was sorry—or did all that come later?
Or did I let my gaze feed hungrily on the faraway hills?
The women’s crescendo of cries made me go faster:
I hammered with duty and tiredness, and waited
as dark fell on the cross. But in my dreams I’m still
hammering, deaf, as wind turns the world over
and I hammer harder, knowing I forge the one still point—
like the welder branding the whitest hot metal,
I’m crafting the fulcrum where God’s melded with us
in our unbending rage—and if I could, in this chaos,
I would set all my children safe upon the crux
of that nail. O my God, how can I bear it: chosen
to be the necessary hurter? I pray to what slipped away
in the long grass of our silence—that all I was
flipped to goodness on the head of a nail.