The man I imagine walking to Emmaus
is the one I saw in Caravaggio’s flesh-and-bone
depiction of Christ beckoning the taxman
to his side, steady arm outstretched,
pointing a finger at the table of cardsharps.
It’s a gesture that’s the same
in every language and seems to say
there’s no time to wait for those who can’t decide.
This Jesus might turn the wine back into water
and bide this time with the corner
boys of Jerusalem and Jericho.
On the way to the twilight supper table,
a doubting Thomas thought he met a stranger
but it was Christ in new clothes,
circled by an aura
not seen since his mother saw him naked.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.