Palm Sunday: after the parade


"Sunday" by Hannah Faith Notess

After the parade, the tired donkey
wanders back to her stall.
Among the bruised feathery branches,
a dog licks at a half-eaten snack
wrapped in a leaf, and the palms,
whose boughs are done being cut down,
begin again to whisper
their fragile green music.
Mud crusts and dries
on abandoned, trampled cloaks,
and the women carry some of them
down to the water for washing.  He seemed
like a nice man, they tell each other. 
He came from the country.
Across the city, the man
who had a strong face, a kind face,
is telling a story with his hands,
and in the lamplight
the wise and foolish virgins
cast shadows on the wall.
Tomorrow his hands will wither
a fig tree and overturn tables.
The temple veil will start
to stretch and fray.  But on this street,
as night falls over the city, and the women
shoulder their dripping burdens
up the hill, the mutter of voices
at the well is only gossip,
and the wail rising in the air
is only a child's cry, hungry and thin.
Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem by James Tissot