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THE ISENHEIM RESURRECTION/Martin Scott Only Matthew's gospel claims that soldiers Were appointed by the Pharisees to watch The tomb, yet here they are, as big as life, Sporting anachronistic mail and swords Too tall for them to wield. Their armor drags Them groundward as Christ leaps away from Earth As if on wires, Hollywood style. Effects Burn state of the art in Griinewald's altarpiece, The Son pale as a ghost, yet flesh enough To flash the glowing stigmata to a crowd As yet imagined only, as the women— Mary Magdalene, and the "Other Mary" Not present in the painting, perhaps the point Of view—bear witness to the hope on which The Church is built: the triumph over Death. The head of Christ shades into yellow fire, The yellow into orange sun, then ether Out of which sparks fly like Gnostic souls Or bright stigmata mirrors into dark. The cloak folds, angry iris, vaginal, About the body now transfigured, folded Out from blood and twisted into white wings, The pride of wound and history winding off The flesh, its dirty spool. The Concept wins And flies the fingers, arms and liver, all The filth, to meet the soul in the middle air. We needed this, so we invented it, The way we have, worm-like, excreted art The Missouri Review · 79 And architecture, books and economics Onto the tunnel walls through which we crawl, The way Christ emanates hard glory from His blessed tranquil head into the night, A tunnel he can rise through to a throne. This is my way of saying the story's true: Christ Jesus, crucified, rose from the dead In all the different versions the gospels say— The angels (one, or maybe two) announce At the tomb (two, or maybe three women) he's Alive. He makes his brief appearances, Eats fish or not, discourses or not, with Peter. It doesn't really matter, it's all a lie So true we had to tell it several ways To get it right. The points at which the stories Strike, the flame chips out like Gnostic sparks Incapable of igniting contradiction, And the body, spirit-like, learns to conspire With fiery tongues. The story we believe And tell is not, thank God, what happened to us, It's how we think it was inside the words And symbols we allow ourselves: cut lamb, Brown gospel tree, the empty tomb, tunnel To heaven and the body transformed to life, The losers and the lame caught up in the air For the Resurrection, when dead things open their eyes And follow Christ onto the stage just like A talk show, everything exposed and squeezed With all the compassion we—our God—can muster. Only John contains the story of how Thomas Demanded empirical proof, the finger in The hole, the hand into the chest. What did 80 · The Missouri Review Martin Scott He feel that made him worship Jesus as. His God, so that Jesus said, "Blessed are they Who have not seen, and yet believe," as if Faith's built on ignorance, the blind leading The blind down a winding staircase to a hole That sucks you through an orange light so vast That everything, at once, is black and white. Martin Scott The Missouri Review · 81 CEMETERY BY THE DEER BLIND/ Martin Scott So this is the cemetery, the sunken graves And limestone from the nineteenth century. Mesquite outlines the reach of skeleton, Dead pioneers, who've nothing to do with me Or you, except this walk through cactus groves And cattle walls that no one minds anymore. Huge spider webs, like old relationships, Were promises through which we blindly tore Right to the line, the barb and wire, the dead. Right here, their chests collapsed beneath the dirt As if the heart and history, too weak, Could not support the burden, or the work. Oh, Evelyn, for every change we make, We make a grave. The past does not slide on Like shoulders over twisted wire. You shrug The skin off, diamondback, then snap the turn The way trails take you back where you'd begun. These ranchers ended up in this...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 79-88
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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