The Thief On His Own

“Paradise,” you said.

Can you hear what I’m thinking?  It hurts too much to breathe, let alone talk.  And anyway you’ve stopped talking, too.

“Paradise,” you said.  “Today.”  And with you.  But you’re not saying anything now.  

Even in all this crazy pain – my useless body is straining to keep breathing and it’s helping these Roman dogs torment me – I felt joy when you said what you did.

But I thought you would help me along the way there.  And now you’re not saying anything.

My partner on the other cross isn’t talking either.  I could see the disgust in his eyes when we talked about Paradise.  I can’t say I blame him.  My last words out loud were to snap at him for mocking you.  His eyes have angry heat – he’s still alive and hurting like me.

But you.  It’s like you’re asleep now.  Are you going to wake up and say something else?  Are you going to help me through this pain and pathetic fear and walk with me to Paradise?

Oh God, I don’t want to cry.  The Romans and this deadbeat crowd of gawkers would take pleasure.  But Paradise.  You said I was going to Paradise with you.  And now you’re not saying a thing.  Are you already there?  Why did you leave me alone?

How can you be like this? How can you not care for me?  I know you felt alone, too.  I heard you call out that holy song, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  And when they mocked you I spoke up, painful as that was, on your side.  But now you say nothing.  

Well, I know some of those songs too.  Even a thief hears the prayers sometimes,

“Friend and companion hast Thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.”

Will I just wake up in Paradise?  O do I need to keep suffering until you wake up and talk to me again? What?  What must I do?

Here come the soldiers with spears and iron rods.  This is it.  They’ve had their sport and now they want to go back to town so it is time for us all to die.  No respect for our lives and our deaths are boring them.

Can you hear these thoughts?  Have I been talking to myself all this time?  You’re not even twitching.  Are you gone already?  Gone to Paradise?  

I don’t care if the tears come.  You – wherever you are – are my last bit of life.  Remember me, please.  Remember me.

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