There is a legend that Pontius Pilate painted Christ
long after he retired as governor.
What a challenge that would have been
to capture the man you so briefly spoke to
on a wooden panel
yet who’s life (and death) will stay with you
for the rest of yours.
Would you take red and accentuate the blood
dripping from his crown of thorns?
Or would you use precious lapis or azurite to render
Herod’s ironically gifted robes?
You mix your pigments with bees wax and olive oil
and you layer them on the panel
you work it over and over like a madman
until the skin of your hands is painted too,
and no matter how much you wash them –
no matter how many bowls of clean water you use
you can’t get those stains to come off.