To Christians Who Support Torture

So you think
it’s naïve

to protect the bodies
of those

who threaten
to upend

this comfortable
way of life?

So you think
they deserve

to suffer,
their transgressions

unforgivable?
I wish

you were with me
in the Prado,

standing before Velázquez’
Cristo Crucificado.

The buckled body
hangs

on the Cross
against

a black background,
bruised,

bloody,
but glowing.

It is impossible
to be distracted.

No clouds, no sky.
No criminals

on the right or left.
No disciples.

Just the body,
the wood,

and the knots
in the wood.


Diego Velázquez / Public domain

Saturn Devouring His Son

Saturn grips the bloody torso
so tight his fingers disappear
into the flesh, up to the knuckles.
Mouth wide open, he leans forward
to bite the headless body again.
His eyes — bugged like a frog.
His hair — long and feathery.
I am more disgusted than angry
at his relentless hunger
to devour, at this madness
driven by fear that is not,
I’m sorry to say, unfamiliar.
Everything vital is a threat
to our progenitors.
Without remorse, they mutilate
perceived rivals and the earth itself,
as though any generation
could avoid its end by consuming
the next. From what infernal place
does this foolishness rise?
In private, you admit
that nothing lasts forever,
not Saturn nor the gods
who preceded and followed him.
Yet in public you pretend
the opposite, while the real artist,
Francisco de Goya,
could not and would not.