1. “The Dead Christ with Angels, 1864”
Angels labor as angels must, mourning spoilt, spilt milk, not begging for an ounce of gauzy, yet elusively human, significance in some Hereafter. The Savior dead: an ending to a sad & sordid, human affair. Listen, you there with those teal-blue wings, cradle your Christ’s ashen head in a would-be earthen hand while your companion holds her head, hoping against hope. Thank God you are now far beyond anything remotely human although your face apes what’s hidden in that heart, if heart you had. You’re spared the insatiable thirsts for this “muddy batter,” this mud-hole, this earth.
2. “The Dead Christ Supported by an Angel”
Antonello da Messina (ca. 1476)
Angel with the forlorn face of a child whose mother has abandoned him. For good? for ill? You hang on, more resigned than desperate, clutching the dead Christ’s all but extinguished torso, his life-blood caked already, drained down, spear-gashed below ribs to his glorious groin. Worry furrows your forehead, a nestling clinging one final time under a mother hen’s wing. Indeed, you know something’s been lost, something’s come to an end, but you’re unable to find the echoes that, too, have fled, unsayable, forever. Are you so fated now to go alone?
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 1.