The Fifth Word
by Doug Jackson
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
That all might be fulfilled I say, “I thirst.”
I suck sour wine spiked to a hyssop reed.
The best wine I created at the first.
On vinegary vintage now I feed.
Shake out the branch and spatter! splatter! splash!
With blood-dimmed droplets drench the passers-by,
My loved disciple and his mother wash,
Hide all behind this lentil where I die.
I cry my thirst through chapped, blood-blackened seams.
My tongue, a rasp, carves harsh shapes from dry lungs.
I who once promised chattering, chuckling streams
Cry for one finger-dip dripped on my tongue.
A different lamb dies on a distant hill.
I empty self that all might be fulfilled.
Doug Jackson is a preacher/professor/poet who after a quarter-century in the pastorate now teaches spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, and Greek for the Logsdon Seminary program at the South Texas School of Christian Studies in Corpus Christi. His collection of poetry, Nothing There is Not More, is available from Finishing Line Press.