Conchology

jesus on the cross

On a skull hill
Overlooking a sleepy town
There was a man who was evicted. 
He was whipped, clothes ripped apart
Humiliated in front of throngs,
Paraded with two cut throat thieves,
And hung on a cross of timber.
And today, he is still found on a million crosses,
On bed stands, between clavicles,
On the tip of rosaries.

And this man, a fisherman,
Who everyday sat on a beach,
And looked at leftover seashells
The exoskeletons of a once was mollusk,
Now littering and yet carving
A place among the silica crystals.
And that was his legacy, a shell, an exoskeleton,
So different from the rest, so beautiful in design,
In conchology; the lines, the colors
The feel, all telling the onlooker,
That the most precious part of life,
Is found in what doesn’t turn to ash.

And the Jesus mollusk
In one Judas’s kiss, transformed
To be the hunted, clawed with nails,
Wiped out from history. And this near-naked
Man’s echo, even today, proliferates through,
The enclosure of a shell, the dome he built
To house his legacy, where millions
Gather to celebrate the son of man,
Who was long before death,
A son of the ocean.

And that abalone shell lives
As Jesus’s chopped ear,
As the perfect example of how,
To forgive and forget. And that auriform whorl
Now looks down on us, as one of many
Church domes, housing his solitary echo,
Of being the anomaly in the sands,
The glitter bearer, who went down in pages of history,
To become an amulet on a cross,
Remembered through time,
As abalone flesh on tongues.

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Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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