He has not much time, maybe minutes.
Yet he catches her eye. She sees
the sweat, blood and pus making
tracks in the dirt on his face.
Hers were the first eyes he entered
and now will be his last.
Against rough wood and iron spikes
he shifts up his flesh for air to speak.
She holds her breath to catch
his words, “Woman.”
His beaten aching body—swaddled in blood—
behold your son.”
She watches as he shifts his eyes
to the young man whose strong arms
steady her. “Behold your mother.”
Her knees weaken, but her weight
is secured in the young man’s strength.
In her memory echoes a “yes”
as present and eternal as
the blood that stains her hands,
her face, her clothing.