Maundy Thursday: A Poem

MAUNDY THURSDAY by Mitali Perkins
At the end,
Baba didn't want his hands held.
Not by us, anyway.
They clawed in ceaseless search,
Fingers wide, then bent, raking in rhythm with the rattle.
But his feet?
They kicked off the blankets and waited.
Tired skin, chapped with thirst.
It took two washcloths—
The first, wet with warm water.
The second, dry and clean.
Oil came next. Was it olive?
None of us remember now.
We eased it into ancient lines.
His anklebones gleamed with it.

Soon, his palms turned up,
Came down to the sheet,
Rested there like lotus flowers.

Painting is oil on canvas, part of the series on John’s Gospel, published by Art India as "And the Word was made Flesh," in the collection of Sneha Sadan, Pune.