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Prairie Schooner 80.2 (2006) 186-187

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No one, not even the Gnostics,
dared speak of the fish course
at the Last Supper, how the Christ
let the clueless disciples loose
on the old occupation one last time,
5 A.M. nets bone hooks
begging the Sea of Galilee
deck flippering with desire.

No one testified how they returned
(as he knew they would)
to the last places women had waited,
sacks of dying scales
stashed outside dirt kitchens
hollowing out that part of longing
even the sea could not empty,
knees trembling before
a vague, merciless mission
they could never have borne alone.

He waited alone, the subtleties of manna
settling around his soul like hoarfrost.

No one bore witness to how Christ
grilled a whole fish himself,
picking its white flakiness from bone,
dipping his fingers even
into the head socket,
cleansing his mouth with wine
dribbled down the vacant skeleton, [End Page 186]

licking his fingers
in the single eye staring back.

No one preached the despair
of sopping the last fish juices
with unleavened bread,
of how Christ stood
before the vanishing point
at that long unpainted table,
lifted remnants even his imagination
strained to feel as broken flesh,
told us things
no one dared remember
beyond the glyphs of tomb
and signet ring.

Robert Oberg serves as director of the Olney Street Group, an independent poetry workshop which he founded in 1982. He was the winner of the 1991 Galway Kinnell Poetry Prize. His chapbook Pleated Light was published in the Premier Poets Series.



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pp. 186-187
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