My God, my God, what queer corner am I in? Didn't I die, blood running down the post, lungs gagging for air, die there for the sin of anyone, my sour mouth giving up the ghost? Surely my body is done? Surely I died? And yet, I know, I'm here. What place is this? Cold and queer, I sting with life. I lied. Yes, I lied. Or else in some damned cowardice my body would not give me up. I touch fine cloth with my hand and my cheeks are cold. If this is hell, then hell could not be much, neither as special or as ugly as I was told. What's that I hear, snuffling and pawing its way toward me? Its tongue knocks a pebble out of place as it slides in, a sovereign. How can I pray> It is panting; it is an odor with a face like the skin of a donkey. It laps my sores. It is hurt, I think, as a I touch its little head. It bleeds. I have forgiven murderers and whores and now must wait like old Jonah, not dead nor alive, stroking a clumsy animal. A rat. His teeth test me; he waits like a good cook, knowing his own ground. I forgive him that, as I forgave my Judas the money he took. Now I hold his soft red sore to my lips as his brothers crowd in, hairy angels who take my gift. My ankles are a flute. I lose hips and wrists. For three days, for love's sake, I bless this other death. Oh, not in air -- in dirt. Under the rotting veins of its roots, under the markets, under the sheep bed where the hill is food, under the slippery fruits of the vineyard, I go. Unto the bellies and jaws of rats I commit my prophecy and fear. Far below The Cross, I correct its flaws. We have kept the miracle. I will not be here.