Jesus Under Water

I've been told that Jesus came on a dung-colored mule
His beard moving in the wind a bloody rose
His feet dripping on the thighs of a mule
      They called "Agnes Dei."
They say his eyes were clouded like the wind
That beat across the Kyzyl Kum Desert;
They say that if you listened closely,
You could hear his heart beat and beat and stop
      Like the wind
      Across the desert.

They say that god's juices ran like tears
From the nine famous exits (wept like the sunset);
He rode the dung-colored mule, his head hung down,
And he brooded mightily over the usual paradoxes:
      "If I am here, why am I here?"
      "Is my mule a divine?"
      "Who was I before I was?"
And, most of all,
      "Why can't they stop killing each other
      In the name of the name
      (In the name of god
      Why can't they stop!")

They say (I think) that Jesus left this earth
Riding on the back of a gold-and-ivory lion
A cruel beast that snarled at the penitents
      Along the road to The Hill of Sorrows.
The blood of his brow laced the beast's gold mane,
His body curved like the waters of the Tigris.

He left our domain (they swear by their faith)
On the back
Of a winged lion
Out of the sands of the Great Atacama
      Where the wind blows
      And the sun has finally,
      For all good time, descended.

The next day (they say) they found his bones
Spinning like spiders at the mouth of the river.
The natives in their divine simplicity now
Worship the waters as god. They give over their ashes,
Their gold and dung-colored liquids to the sacred river
They refer to as The Sign Of God's Good Grace.
      That's where they found
      What was left of his bones
      Turning round like hands reaching
      Turning like hands reaching out.

--- Al Hefid

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