Guarding a grave
is hardly the most lively way
to spend this early springtime night,
or serve almighty Rome.
Why would anyone steal a corpse,
particularly one so battered and broken
as this one has to be after all
that happened to it yesterday?
That flogging with the lead-tipped cat
doesn’t leave that much to nail up,
or so the crucifixion detail tell me.
And by the time they’ve torn
the whole mess down again –
out of respect for some Jewish feast,
or so I heard – there’s little one could
recognize as having once been human.
Still, Pilate wants us here,
so here we are.
Wonder what he did to provoke
such unrelenting fury from the temple crowd.
Wonder what they said to get our Pilate
into such a dither; all that back and forth
around the palace and the square.
And then the water bowl and towel,
that odd and almost guilty public handwashing.
Caesar’s Procurator surely ought to be
more decisive, more imperial,
far less reasonable as he implements
the wisdom and the will of Mother Rome.
Ah well. Only a few more hours of darkness,
and with the sunrise I’ll be relieved, set free,
ready for some necessary sleep and then
another routine day keeping the peace
within this turbulent mightiest empire
that the world has ever seen.
Hurry up now, sunrise!