Sycamore in Jericho

Year 33 of Agnus Dei,
Zac the tax man shimmies up to better see
the Christ Parade: Parable Mirabilis, Parabola Miraculous.
I knew the stories: the blind sighted,
the dead alive, the cult of boys all
soon-to-be-snoring at the soon-gored side.

So I say: Little man,
it is easier for a hundred needles to dance
on the head of an angel than for a camel to enter
the kingdom of God on the back
of a tiny tax collector.

Jesus, Sycamore, he said,
without exasperation.

And then the Christ looked up and said,
Come down from there, Zacchaeus, and he did.
And after, I felt, for a long time after, a weight on me then,
a heated impression, hotter than the sun’s,
as a word can leave or the memory of a child
in arms.

So when the people pointed after them, snarling
about sin, I understood
their fear, which was feeling, and the awareness of
feeling; how it burns.

Kathy Fagan has authored four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Lip (Eastern Washington UP, 2009). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, Field, Ploughshares and The New Republic, among many other journals. She has been awarded fellowships by the NEA and Ingram Merrill Foundation, and her first book, The Raft (Dutton, 1985) was a National Poetry Series selection.