Black Immanuel

Ravenna’s Christ-Apollo,
famed for working miracles,
has flaky hair like Alexander
in the Issos jigsaw.

In his gaudy purple pallium
the bastard Nazarethan is
a Roman demigod,
an alchemical priest

come to bless us with a host
of fish, bread and prayer,
transmuting coiffured Savior
into hairy Norman king.

A picture’s map will edge
its maker before pictured world;
a time lends from its time.
Soon, this gaunt visage

will mix with ghastly images:
corpses in a misty tomb
and soldiers at the gates, then
a snapshot flash, the guard is blind,

he turns the boulder over:
inside the king of apes,
black Immanuel,
spits on his haunches into stone

the image of an ox that works
a colored miracle.
Judge him, for he knew
what he was doing.

From A Dragon’s Son (Lohikäärmeen poika), 2007.

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