Poem: “And Even Shame”

And Even Shame

They were drinking vodka
And I heard one say:
Stas, remember
The prisoner we held began to plead:
Let me die
But we refused
You will not perish when you wish
But when we choose?

He spoke and laughed.

I saw him yesterday
In that new world
Where serpent death uncurls
Downward on a flight of stairs
Where those he knew before could visit him:
An old apartment of nightmares

I saw him through the doorway
On filth against a wall
Lying smeared with muck as if he were an animal
A coarse and straggled coat of hair
Sweat slime on the bloodless skin
On his rigid face
A deep and inward agony
His eyes near shut
Like two slits cut
Intense with pain

Who had not called on Christ
To mend his wounds
And all the doctors treating him in heaven
Could not heal
Or cleanse him
Although they tried
His injuries were inward
And could not be sealed

Only Christ can penetrate
Such wounds in such a state
But you must plead His name
In agony and even shame

May 3, 2011

Pavel Chichikov is a Washington DC-based poet and photographer. He has written for both the secular and the Catholic press on issues as diverse as Russian nuclear weapons systems, Olympic athletes, and miracles. His books include From Here to Babylon: Poems by Pavel Chichikov,  Lion Sun: Poems by Pavel Chichikov, Mysteries and Stations in the Manner of Ignatius, and Animal Kingdom. Pavel may be heard reading his works on catholicradiointernational.com and on pavelreads.com. His poetry regularly appears on "The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov."