Michael Collier

My Crucifixion

Not blasphemy so much as curiosity

and imitation suggested I lie face up

and naked on my bedroom floor,

arms stretched out like His,


feet crossed at the ankles,

and my head lolling in that familiar

defeated way, while my sisters worked

with toy wooden hammers to drive


imagined spikes through my hands and feet.

A spiritual exercise? I don’t think so.

For unlike Christ my boy-size penis stiffened

like one of Satan’s fingers.


I was dying a savior’s death and yet

my “thing,” which is what my sisters

called it, struggled against extinction

as if its resurrection could not be held off


by this playful holy torture, nor stopped

except by the arrival of my parents,

who stood above us suddenly like prelates,

home early from their supper club,


stunned, but not astonished, to find

the babysitter asleep and the inquisitive

nature of our heathenish hearts amok

in murderous pageantry.




“My Crucifixion” is from The Ledge (Houghton Mifflin, 2000).