Friday, March 29, 2013

Bad Friday

Good Friday.
I was four Good Fridays of age.
She decided to tell me the story.
So she did.
"Bad Friday" I said it was......
My grandmother said not to say that.
That was sacrilegious.
Good Friday because
The badness of the crucifixion
To the best of all good men
Had to happen
for the goodness to come
To the baddest of men.

She told the story as if she'd been there herself
Watching it all from the foot of the cross
Tears streaming down
Her soft ripply face,
Her clouds of white hair
That smelled of the
Powder that was pressed in the tortoise-shell case
With the mirror.
And after the story
She sang.
I can't recall what.
It would have trilled and rumbled always did.
She closed her eyes and rocked with me on her lap
And I loved her.
Though not really the story so much.

It was just like how she had sat
On the leatherette hassock
Close to the black and white tv
When Martin Luther King, Jr was killed
Tears streaming down
Her soft ripply face,
And clouds of hair,
And eyes shining like
The blue cornflower brooch
Pinned to her housecoat
That jagged me when she held me close
Swaying and humming and
Throughout that evening saying
"this is somehow how it's meant to be...even though it feels so wrong,
It had to happen."

So, the Friday story seemed somewhat familiar,
Only it was a shock that someone would do this to baby Jesus,
Or the long-haired sepia toned guy,
3/4 profile looking in the middle distance,
Or the blond one in the Sunday School Music Room
With the sheep on his shoulders.
But, I guess Martin Luther King, Jr had been a baby once, too.
And he was someone's father. And someone's minister.
These things, they happen.

And that was my first memory of a Good Friday.
A Bad Friday.
I didn't like the story.
For the rest of the day,
I didn't want to be alone.
When our grandmother clock struck three,
Everywhere I looked,
I saw crosses:
In the grain of wood
In the paneling of white doors
In the patterns of the wallpaper
In the kitchen linoleum,
In the heat registers
In the bark of trees.
Even in the floating colours when I closed my eyes.

She laughed and
said I had a good imagination.
She gathered me in her arms and
Sat on the rocker
with the green corduroy cushions
She rocked me,
And sang,
And wept,
And said
This is part of what Good Friday is.
In order to grow it has to happen.

In order to be forgiven it has to happen.

I thought it was pretty bad....
Bad Friday.
But at least,
On her lap,
I did not feel forsaken.

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