Spring 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 2 Poetry |

My Crucifixion

Not blasphemy so much as curiosity and imitation suggested I lie face up and naked on my bedroom floor, arms stretched out like His, feet crossed at the ankles, and my head lolling in that familiar defeated way, while my sisters worked with toy wooden hammers to drive imagined spikes through my hands and feet. A spiritual exercise? I don't think so. For unlike Christ my boy-size penis stiffened like one of Satan's fingers. I was dying a savior's death and yet my "thing," which is what my sisters called it, struggled against extinction as if its resurrection could not be held off by this playful holy torture, nor stopped except by the arrival of my parents, who stood above us suddenly like prelates, home early from their supper club, stunned, but not astonished, to find the babysitter asleep and the inquisitive nature of our heathenish hearts amok in murderous pageantry.

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Michael Collier’s sixth book, An Individual History, will be published by W.W. Norton, spring 2012. In 2009, he received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Maryland and is director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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Not blasphemy so much as curiosity and imitation suggested I lie face up and naked on my bedroom floor, arms stretched out like His, feet crossed at the ankles, and […]

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