Saint Veronica Who is Not Mentioned in the Bible
I heard the soldiers were bringing him
up the hill past the shop, dragging
that tragedy of God-forsaken tree branches
some guys had whip-tied together
with leather straps.
I was in the back room folding linens
for a wedding we were catering later
when my daughter called me out front.
I admit, he looked rough, little rivers
of blood, maybe even tears, sliding
down his cheeks and neck.
When he tripped and fell to his knees
on the stones in front of the shop
I felt a stab a pity for him.
I handed him the cloth I was holding.
He wiped his face and gave it back.
Of course he said thank you.
His mother raised him right.
But he looked far beyond me
when he said it, like an animal in pain.
No, his face was not printed on that napkin.
People made that up after he died.
I rinsed the blood out in cold water in the sink.
I will admit the arthritis in my fingers went away
after that. And the eczema.
Lisa Zimmerman’s poetry has appeared in Florida Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Cave Wall, SWWIM Every Day and other journals. Her first book won the Violet Reed Haas Poetry Award. Among other collections are The Light at the Edge of Everything and The Hours I Keep. She’s a four-time Pushcart nominee.