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By the Boats of Magdala



A shattered sonnet


After Salvador Dali’s “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” and Edwin Austin Abbey’s “The Three Marys.”


Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister… and Mary Magdalene.1


The first time I saw your son was at the docks.

Hands scarred, even then, by the nails

he drove through wood — a cruel trade

for a man now strung between skulls and stars,

nailed to the night

by tools that once earned him a living.

Maybe because he knew what waited,

he never laughed. Though once or twice, I saw him

smile, his face grave. Nothing there to betray

he once caused blindness

in a stone cutter’s milky eyes to dry up.

But when he took hold of me by the boats

of Magdala and laid waste to the night

within, I knew right then,

here was the only Man I wanted

to give myself to for nothing.   



Notes & References:

1. John 19:25, NIV. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011, by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Soraya Safavid holds an MFA in the Creative Writing of Poetry from Warren Wilson College. Her poems, essays, and stories strive to give flesh, voice, and bone to the women in the Bible. Soraya writes from Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash


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