The crucifix is ten inches long, its metal staves a mere quarter inch wide and made of brass, though it never used to be so obvious that its glow was only a thin layer of gold, probably dipped into a vat for half a second, then hung to dry, and, I believe this because there is residue at the bottom, a thickening that wasn’t been trimmed as neatly as one might think, considering that it is Jesus who hangs from the cross in all his muscled beauty. He is skewered in each palm just above the wrist with screws, his fingers folded downward. His head leans to the left, my left, and his hair, if I ignore the crown of thorns which is somewhat less threatening because the metal has smoothed out the details, I am reminded of the boys I knew when I was young, when we were flower children in paisley shirts, bell bottom pants, our heads wreathed with daisies. This Jesus is as beautiful as they were, those boys who smoked pot and loved the Doors, naked to the waist, playing volleyball in the sand, their skin as gold as this man-god here on my cross. Instead of knee-length board shorts, this Jesus wears a cloth that fits along his hip bones, loose and gently draped which makes me wonder how it could stay on, given the treatment he received by Pilot’s strong-arm soldiers as he trudged along the dusty Via Dolorosa carrying that rugged wooden cross. The bones in his legs must have shuddered under the weight, yet here on this plated cross, his legs look strong and graceful, his right foot placed over his left and secured as with his palms. The whole of him is solemn, sad, the cross itself light-weight and cold in my hand. I run my fingertip along the ragged bottom edge. Press it into the skin, feel its light discomfort, press it harder. Given to us, my sister has its twin, by Father Ara at my mother’s grave, blessing us after he’d blessed her. Though the pain was sharper then, I am sadder now than I was the day we saw lowered into the ground because the cross warming in my hand, offered me an assuring comfort, a comfort I no longer feel and no longer believe in.