And Dwelt Among Us

Gazing heavenward
or only to the light
in the ceiling of our train,
a Spanish man sits and sinks
into his sockets, eyes
the size of billiard balls
His swan neck bends around itself
to lift his slackened chin.
Reddish whiskers fill his cheeks.
His hands, slain on the tray before him,
demand to be believed.
Though I see no thorny crown,
though his ears aren’t filled
with blood, I can almost see the strokes,
the single strokes that give him life–
El Greco’s Christ is breathing,
and here am I, the donor on the right,
asking how it can be, and whether I
–me–should fold my lace-sleeved hands
and gaze beyond him
to the light that floods His face.

Ellen Orner

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