In Absentia

The sun shone in the yard
and Pilate’s wife, Dementia,
stared at the stained wall
from suffering in absentia.

In absentia govern thou,
she said, and Pilate tried.
He tried a symbol with his hands;
his symbol was denied.

The sunlight was refused that day,
and in the foregone night
Dementia in her chambers stared
and Pilate called for light.

He saw the gods of Egypt pass
to where his sweating wife
received them at the very hour
when Christ gave up his life.

In absentia Pilate sat
the sunlight strong and stark;
he wondered if his wife was right
and listened to her bark.

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