Hymn 332

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
We were in Saint Dismas Church that day,
my mother, father and I, on Good Friday
in a March when winter hadn’t ended yet.
The adults listened as Father Cornello preached
about the murder of his deity and the kids wailed
out of spite until their parents took them away.
If I had done that, my parents would have scolded me,
insisted I behaved better than the other boys.
I smiled and gave the sign of peace to the boy in rouge flannel
in front of me. I tried to say “peace,”
or to ask him his name, but my mind skipped
too far ahead. I said nothing. Instead,
I admired his flannel.
Sometimes it causes me to tremble.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Father Cornello didn’t settle for just one glass of wine
(my parents told me this after a parish gala when
I was twelve), but even when—or especially
when—he had drunken fits, the problem
was always Father David (Father Romero
to my parents) who had performed a marriage for his brother
to another man in April the year before, when all the snow
had melted.
They had him transferred to Nome, Alaska.
Sometimes it causes me to tremble.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
I knelt in the second row, pretended to pray
And thought about that flannel shirt.
After mass, my parents babbled to Cornello
about Father David’s brother,
using words they would have scolded me for.
“Damned…” “Led his brother to hell…” “Unforgivable sin…”
It caused me to tremble for myself.

Were they there when I rose up from the dead?
I was wearing a rouge flannel.
Sometimes it causes them to tremble.

Hap Hausman is a new poet, author, musician, and game designer, from Omaha, Nebraska, USA. His combination of literary studies and game design training at the University of Saint Thomas creates a visceral, sincere experience to feel in each of his works. In addition to his poetry, he is currently writing, designing, and creating music for a classic-style RPG called On the Other Side of the Mirror.

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