Good Friday For The Foreigner: A Poem

"So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners."
(Source: The Gospel According to Matthew)

Good Friday For The Foreigner
by Mitali Perkins

The news spreads through our tents and shacks like birdsong:
We have some soil.

It’s strewn with shards of ceramic,
broken bits of pots and cups,
clay of no use or value.
I’ll pick them up, clean the ground with my hands,
and make a holy place.
I’ll water the dirt with my tears.

Who paid for it?

The piles of bodies had grown, the stench,
disease adding more to the heap.
We begged, we cried, we pleaded:
We die, too. We are not just passing through.
No word. A civic silence.

Who spoke for us?

The coins were stained with blood, we're told.
They were useless, too, like the clay, like the dead.
Now our bones, blood, and flesh
will mingle with theirs under the ground.
An inheritance for our beloved.
I weep, and bury, and kneel,
and whisper my thanks to the Unknown.

Originally published on Mitali's Fire Escape April 6, 2007