Pietà

Pietà

I am lying, arms helpless at my side and sunk into the tiny gravity wells
Formed by ribs and hip bones, framed in this comfortable chair.
It’s only a nap, in a chair that is not my mother, its arms not my mother’s arms,
Yet I sense that I am upheld by love, and a poem runs through my sleepy thoughts.
I am aware of my hands cupped without care or purpose, at full useless repose,
And I think of marble, of a sculpted body eternally at rest, perhaps the Christ
Released from the agony of crucifixion, the artist carving his ahistorical palm
Wounds like lovers’ openings in a waiting corpse, tender lips traced through the Shadows of holy
light falling on opaque translucent stone, formed in simulacrum of Incarnate flesh, still and silent
in the quiet victory of surrender, like lovers.
I do not travel in these sleepy thoughts beyond that image of my hands,
Receptive and gentle in a stillness refreshing and kind, unfilled but for the
Proud sin of assumption, that I am worthy of this intimate ritual of substitution,
Of brotherhood and hope in the communion of sleep and death.


Rick Kuenning is a versatile, caring, domestic man. He translates lifelong writing and teaching experience into poems informed by a quick and innovative sensibility. His work reflects a keen interest in art, culture, religious studies, and draws on a long career in international relations and national policy. He writes with depth and variety; cultural criticism and political censure are leavened with whimsical reflection and lyrical meditations on the natural world. He is an expatriate who lives in Europe immersed in diverse cultures, finding connections while viewing the world through his American identity. He reads widely, enjoys cooking, and listens to classical and popular music. His creativity is often sparked by dialogue with other poems. He is awed by nature, angered by injustice, and moved by the stories of those whose voices are not heard.

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