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it still sheds rough-hewn splinters
shining with the blood
of human prejudice,
turned and bent,
painted in black
on a red and white banner.

it still heats an angry mob
clad in pure
white hoods
standing in a yard,
set ablaze by the fire
of fear and hate.

it still holds a man stretched,
now in burnished bronze
or polished marble,
hung on our walls
and kept frozen
in dead faith.

yet, it still bears life,
a bloody, skin-shredded back pressed
against dirty beams, His bones
and veins ruptured with rusted spikes
driven by the exchange
of pain for healing, death for life.

“…by His wounds we are healed.” (isaiah 53:5)

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