(dedicated to Jacob Needleman, for Lost Christianity)

Christ the lost man is stepping bone to bone
through the dark cavern where our heart is hiding.

He searches deep in the body 
where bitterness gives root to fear, 
where habit buries the stirring of change 
    like stones of the colossus smothering the grass,
where the cells of original virtue
swim unknown among cancers.

He tires: 
the air is old and full of war. 
He strains to hear the outside world 
    coming in through the holes in the head 
and catches an echo of television. 
He longs for a place of rest 
where he might await heroism —
    then smiles at his forgetfulness. 
Long ago the mind diffused him into the blood,
that he might be honored for the hemorrhage to follow. 
Such was the luxury of crucifixion.

Now from the dim inside 
he pushes mightily on the low rib 
with the patience of humility, an austere musicianship, 
hoping again to start a magic expansion, 
    each rib following each upward 
in a subtle loosening toward fecund threnody, 
a rhythmic, passionate massage of space 
yielding the heart room to rise 
and birth from its singularity 
    the thousand dense and brilliant inventions 
of love 
of which we dream through Christ.