The murderous heat gave way
to deathly cold that night.
I found a place beside the fire
and warmed my trembling hands.
Three times? I shook my head.
The servant girl beside me
saw my firelit face and said,
“I’ve seen you with him.”
“You’re mistaken,” I replied.
It’s not my son who has to die.
Another woman, by the gate,
caught sight of me and shouted,
“He’s that madman’s friend,”
an accusation I denied.
I’ve never felt his gentle weight.
Then a man who’d seen me
cut his cousin’s ear off cried,
“You’re one of his disciples!”
“I’m no follower of his,” I lied.
I didn’t kiss him in the garden.
As the darkness crept away,
a stabbing shaft of sunlight
caused a cockerel thrice to crow
and I knew then, as now,
I’m not his rock; I’m only human.
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