The Common Good
November 2010

Jesus and the Cabbage

by Jeanne Murray Walker | November 2010

His friend Martha's making soup, because you still /
have to eat. Meanwhile, back in the Garden /

His friend Martha's making soup, because you still
have to eat. Meanwhile, back in the Garden

cave, the same Garden where he prayed to let
this cup pass from him, he comes to himself lying

on a stone shelf in the cool dark, all 200 pounds
of him, only changed. Minus mass, maybe,

or impervious to gravity. He doesn't understand this
as a physics problem. He lifts his hand and stares

at it. In town Martha's trying to keep her tears out
of the soup. The cabbage offers her its tough pale green

handles to steady her wobble. She strips its layers
down to the heart, while Jesus -- whoo-ee! His astonished face,

chisel it in marble! -- lasers through the swaddling
grave clothes. Heaven’s volatile physics draws him up.

In the deepest dark of winter when I hold a cabbage,
peel off its outer leaves, before I plunge the knife in,

I think when I take that kind of journey,
I might light my path with this green moon.

Jeanne Murray Walker lives in Philadelphia and teaches at the University of Delaware. Her newest book is New Tracks, Night Falling.

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