by James Wyshynski

South of Kythira, tucked
between the Ionian and
Cretan seas, is a church
no one has visited.

Inside, two pews made
from wooden pallets
the sea coughed up, an altar
of bleached driftwood

and above it, a mural:
Christ and his disciples
in a garden. Through
a painted window

the old story: forks on
plates, half-empty cups,
bone, blood, gristle.

In fading garden light,
it looks as though
someone’s told a joke—

perhaps about a camel
who comes into a bar
and sits down next to a needle,

I don’t know—but Christ
is doubled over, his grin
pearly, his hands

reaching to wipe his eyes,
as red paint drips
from his future palms.


JAMES WYSHYNSKI received his MFA from the University of Alabama. He is a former editor of the Black Warrior Review. His poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Terminus, River Styx, Interim, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cortland Review, Barrow Street, Permafrost and are forthcoming in the Stoneboat, Nimrod, and others. He currently lives and works in Marietta, Georgia.


Photo: “Patterns of your past” by Aristocrats-hat