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About this Poem 

“The man in the poem might have chosen any postcard as an aide-mémoire—that he chose this postcard, for this purpose, is a poem.”
Patrick Donnelly

A Postcard of Christ Carrying the Cross,

circle of Giovanni Bellini circa 1505 oil on wood, is what
he fits between his third and fourth weekly pill boxes,

to remind himself to reorder. His routine about the anti-
virals is of greater magnitude, maybe, than the one in which

Mrs. Gardner used to place a vase of violets in front
of the painting, when she owned it. This card’s only

a reproduction of the Passion, not the original. But we’ve seen
how imitation and daily use can make of pity and fear

an almost cozy utensil. The Savior’s torso is pointed
toward the royal climb, but his unreadable eye turns out,

loosing on you, passerby, a tear of blood and milk.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Patrick Donnelly. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Patrick Donnelly. Used with permission of the author.

Patrick Donnelly

Patrick Donnelly was born on September 25, 1956, in Tucson, Arizona, and received his master’s degree in poetry from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is the author of two books of poetry: Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012) and The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003). He is also cotranslator, with Stephen D. Miller, of the 141 Japanese poems in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013).

by this poet

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            Heaven hunts round for those that find itself below, and then it snatches.
                        —Emily Dickinson
 

I wind
the sheet of elegy

while he's still alive, I can't help it,
I follow his breath while he sleeps,

greet each coming and going,
with an Ave