Monday, October 29, 2018

Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae is Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University in New York City. His most-recent book is Language of My Captor (2017, Wesleyan University Press), and his new poetry collection The Gilded Auction Block will appear from Farrar, Straus & Giroux in February. He is the new Poetry Editor for the journal Image. He has received the Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.

The following poem first appeared in West Branch and is from his collection The Animal Too Big To Kill (2015, Persea Books).

On the First Day of the Last Week of His Life
Jesus Overturns the Tables of the Money-Changers

For John Gallaher

I wrote to a friend yesterday and told him my new poems were
About or I was trying to say
Something about money to God

I think and I don't understand it why I think it Lord You don't
Understand money
but of course You do / And maybe even

Lord if You were You You on Earth used money maybe You
Didn't just overturn the tables of the money-changers
Maybe You sometimes ached to not

Lord have enough for even a few figs / Maybe You hated figs
-----and always had or always the
Conditioned always of Your time here
hated figs / And maybe figs were usually

The cheapest food available and still You sometimes didn't
-----have enough
Maybe You suffered in Your body first the suffering of in Your
-----body Lord
Inhabiting Your poverty

Maybe Your body Lord was shaped by foods You hated
Maybe You sometimes walking to the market / Felt everybody
-----even only
for a moment / Glancing at You

knew Lord You lived on figs
Lord and You hated figs and always had
And on the day You overturned the tables of the money-changers

You also cursed a fig tree never to produce / Fruit again
because You had come to it hungry Lord
and found it barren

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.