THE 7 WORDS
These are not the last words;
He has much more to say along the way:
Next to the beach over a cooking fire,
Walking along a road after Jerusalem,
In locked door rooms; in a garden
outside a tomb. Ascending. These, instead,
are his dying words.
People once listened and carefully recorded
Last words; it is possible to find collections
Of famous last words. I’m told persons,
Thoughtful about their deaths, once composed
Such lines in anticipation. A legacy of famous words.
These seven words are spoken by a dying man, hanging
From a cross. These words are from a used cross
Rooted in bloodied rock. These words, not his last,
Ring a surprising tone of compassion.
For all others; perhaps, even for us; for his mother’s
Well-being; for a repentant random other
Crucified alongside him. Human words.
Words you might expect from a dying man—
Abandonment, thirst, yielding. Ordinary words
For the most part made holy by
Circumstance and speaker.