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Rose Petals in a Dark Room Fall

by Michael Lee Johnson

I walk in a mastery of the night and light;
my money-changers walk behind me:
they are fools like clowns in a shadow of sin;
they’re busy as bees as drunken lovers —
Sodom and Gomorrah, before the salt pillar falls.

In a shadow of red rose petals
drunken lovers walk, changing Greek and Roman
currency to Jewish or Tyrian money.
They are fools, all fools, at what they do.

Everyone’s life is a conflict.

They are my lovers and my sinners.
I can’t sleep at night without them
by my bed or by the sea of Galilee.
Fish in cloth nets are my friends and my converts.
I pray in my garden alone, while all the rest
who love sleep beside me in their innocence.
The rose is a tender thorn compared to my arrest
and, soon, crucifixion.

It is here the morning and the night come together,
where the sea and the land part,
where the building crumbles;
and I trust not myself to them.

I am but a poet of the ministry.
Rose petals in a dark room fall.
Everyone’s life is a conflict.
But mine is mastery of light and night
and I walk behind the footsteps of no one.

Copyright © 2007 by Michael Lee Johnson

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