In the painting by Duccio,
Jesus rides into Jerusalem.
The disciples crowd behind him,
each with his own gold plate
for a halo.
The crowds gesture, astonished,
hands over hearts, pointing to the sky,
arms extended. The elders seethe.
They all have the same face, the face of
the artist's father or his churlish patron
or the master who beat him.
Zaccheus, that wee little man, is up a tree,
jammed between branch and trunk,
looking far ahead for the cops.
The donkey that Jesus rides paces
patiently, her bemused face mirrored
in the foal beside her.
Jesus rides into the city
of ivory towers, turrets, and porticos.
The shouts of the crowd become
the cries of gulls: he is by the shore again,
that night of waves and lightning,
him stepping from peak to trough to peak.
He was strong, then, joyous — lifting and hurling
the storm. "Don't be afraid!" he called out then.
Now, just ahead, there is a bronzed
and tarnished door to a darkness
wide enough to take a man.
He raises a hand: we believe it
to be a blessing.