Head of John the Baptist
Titian Circle, 1580
Fallen over on a meat platter,
the head conveys the wrong message.
The ax had stolen a blank look.
Life, vigor, prophecy, and
his adrenal eyes are gone
from this man who ate locusts
and sucked honey in the wilderness.
His hair is a web of dispair,
but the sweat on his brow
telling of his intended journey
has been long dried. The head
is surrounded by a darkness,
the black of sharing alone
God’s words with the animals
and bushes and the breaths
of humans that are frightened.
The ax has sliced away the ecstasy
of baptizing the son. One
who was young is dead. The head
lies still. The dull look
is a terrible visage after
such a crazed wandering. Violence
suggests the coming of the death
of a soft one who took one moment,
at the end, to question the father.