Crossroads

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)

Like every journey, it had unexpected crossroads
and unpredictable turnings. I took the road in stride,
my faith rewarded with safe harbours and pilots.
Through wilderness and valley the road went,
tracing the journey of our fathers
past the familiar ebenezers, the old remembered
heaps of stones that mark where we have been before.
We sang the old songs, slowly ascending the beloved hill—
The crowd came surging through the gate before we entered,
a fast-flowing tide that tossed a man down at my feet
like a shipwrecked sailor clinging to his driftwood.
The face obscured by blood,
a meathook of a hand grabbed my arm,
his beam thrown on my shoulders like an ox made to plough.
I can still smell the slaughter on me
from that day the current swept me from my sons
to walk in the trail of blood he left for me to follow.

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