Turning Face – John C. Mannone

One step dragged
in front of the other,
his whole body ached,
head gouged with thorns,
flesh ripped to bone. Yet
not a word of complaint.
When they nailed him
to the rough cut wood,
he cried
inside, his mouth open.
He bled forgiveness
for their ignorance.
And when the heavens
darkened, he spoke
what had been written
a thousand years earlier—
the very words of David
in his psalm of death
from start to finish
while draped in a garment
of our disease, choking
his throat, gripping heart.
Oh how he must have felt
so alone. But did he know
his Father saw him
washed with his own
blood? Surely,
the Father was well-pleased
at the grieving, the scourging,
the purging of our sins.
John C. Mannone has poems appearing/accepted in North Dakota Quarterly, Le Menteur, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, 2020 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, and others. His poetry won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest (2020). He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His latest collection, Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry, is forthcoming from Linnet’s Wings Press (2020). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A retired physics professor, he lives near Knoxville, Tennessee.