Gilded Crosses?

Shiny icons gleaming on altars?
     And hanging from necks on gilded chains?
     No. Not back then…

Not golden, not metal, not shiny, not slick,
     not smooth, not symmetrical,
     not sanded, not straight.
Unvarnished, uneven, irregular, rough-hewn,
     knotty, cracked, scrap wood
     with hazardous splinters.
No sparkling jewels inlaying gold.
     Just rusty nails
     impaling flesh and bone.
No ornate mounting, no pristine pedestal.
     Just dropped into a hole
     and wedged with rocks.
No symbol, no sacredness, no beauty,
     no justice, no hope, no gain,
     no victory, no glory.
Just naked, scandalous, criminal, brutal,
     with loss, sorrow, pain,
     and inevitable death.

That is what a Roman cross was
     and meant back then…
     a death sentence,
     an icon of horror.
     one dark morning,
     when Light shoved stone aside
     and sentenced Death to die.

Copyright 2019 Mark D. Stucky.
Originally published in Small Town Anthology V: Entries from the Fifth Annual Tournament of Writers (Schoolcraft Community Library, 2019).

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