The National Catholic Review
Richard Schiffman
(after a painting by James Ensor)

Smack in the center of this parade
that he neither leads nor follows,
but so far off we barely see him
riding the ass through town—
and neither do the masked revelers
who surround him
look up at the one unfeigned face
amongst the grinning skulls
and leering burghers, the red-nosed
revelers and windup soldiers.
Lost amongst their specious
banners, flags and slogans,
too homely even to crucify,
too undisguised to notice,
the one they flaunt as “Jesus”
in order not to see (though they give
him pride of place). As the eyes
cannot see themselves
at the center
of the face.

Richard Schiffman, a biographer and former journalist for National Public Radio, has published poetry in Poetry East, The North American Review and other journals.

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