The Son of David


Hosanna—the desert still torments the psalter.
If all the minor sightings made by sane men
were obliged to become examples, then,
suddenly the mask would be torn off the orange horizon.
The men would have to play more than mirror
to the role of women,
and a wall of steam
would be built to serve the Son of David.
The Son of David left his agony to be observed by men,
a man, himself, the Anointed, a man
who died a common criminal,
the same divine symbol as a dandelion urged toward baptism.
The oil on his face came from the East—
it is a secret
with the moral force of rawness, a slap
on the cheek to wake
a child from dreaming about
the animals in the park.
A squirrel worships the perfect
shape of acorns. The crow
justifies all from the branch of
a hidden maple—the moth's prolonged
unfolding and the faint grimace of the toad.

The lore swayed to creed, the soft
of the impossible echoed,
an advertisement connected from box to
box to everlasting box. The key
to the lock on the trap
is found, an idle orange
in a sketch of a place inhabiting itself deeply.
The sky over the industrial city. This means
São Paulo is guided by a star in the East,
guided more by the scent
of three mammals than
it is ministered.

Where there are a few people gathered together
to form a ventricle,
a partial mission evolves, the familiar
is made partisan, approaching
the divine undressing of
the surrender to a riddle.
Hallelujah. The mendicant's blood
is passed around the table where
a devoted family is sitting:
man and woman and resurrected son,
three mammals waiting in agony
as seen by the sky and the desert
—somehow, their roles reversed.


Tim Kahl is the author of Possessing Yourself (Word Tech, 2009) and The Century of Travel (Word Tech, 2012). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, The Journal, Parthenon West Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup, and he is the vice president and events coordinator of the Sacramento Poetry Center.