Saturday Poem

Third Person Neuter

Is God mad? Was Christ
crazy? Is truth
the legal truth? (Three PhDs who swear

the human being who believes
a human being God
is what, in fairness, speaking

clinically, we call
a nut.) No jury,
given sacred laws

of science and democracy, would now
forgive so big a claim as Christ's—a claim
for good. (The wounded get

their settlements in millions, not
worlds-without-end.) We think of bliss
as ignorance, and heaven as naiveté: the doctor's

a philosopher, the priest a practicing
apologist. Not one of them
will let me see

with my own eyes my friend again.
When experts gave him time, it made
his luck and language die. What good

was love? It was the ultimate
authority to quit.
He had no use

for flesh at last
and, Christ,
I'm made of it.

by Heather McHugh
from Shades;
Wesleyan University Press, 1988