after a painting by Emily Knowles
by Michael Stalcup
ㅤㅤThen, hovering above the formless deep,
ㅤhe plunged his hand in, shattering the seas
ㅤㅤwith brushstrokes of volcanic flame, the leap
ㅤof islands, dolphins, ages, symphonies
and heartbeats rising, prismed out from light
ㅤunbreakable — his creativity
unbound, and bound, our story set to write.
ㅤㅤㅤBut we ignored him — hoarded all he gave.
ㅤㅤㅤHe offered us his hand — we chose the grave.
ㅤㅤAnd so the one who birthed the universe
ㅤconceived to paint himself, unformed, within
ㅤㅤone woman’s womb — to crown and cry and nurse,
ㅤhis fingers gripping tight her tender skin —
and grow until the day his wood-worn hands
ㅤwould rebuild lives destroyed by sickness, sin,
despair, and death — helping the lowly stand.
ㅤㅤㅤBut we betrayed him — killed him like a slave.
ㅤㅤㅤWe pierced the hands of Love for all they gave.
ㅤㅤI wonder sometimes what his hands were like
ㅤwhen Thomas touched those wounds, somehow untouched
ㅤㅤby even resurrection’s healing light —
ㅤand how those hands that hued the world and clutched
his mother’s breast will always bear the scars
ㅤof love poured out, ignored, rejected, crushed,
that we might hold the hand that holds the stars.