Three Adams

Dali paintings, skulls and monsters, particolored wings,
Cards and dice and portraits line the walls of Suicide Kings.

Breathing shallow, still as rock, I’m trying not to blink.
Virgin plains of ruddy skin imbibing jet black ink.
Adam leans against my back and scribes a fearful face:
An image of an image of the saviour of our race.

Then, as the needle does its work, three Adams fill my mind.
One, the ancient orchard thief and ruiner of mankind.
Two, redeemer of the first, who back to Eden beckoned.
Three, the artist at my back, illumining the second.

For as by Adam Number One the world was filled with sin,
So Adam Two took sin away for One and all his kin.
And as the Second took on flesh to save One from the brink,
So shall the hand of Adam Three incarnate Two in ink.

The artist’s hand creates bold lines of energy and vigor,
Which on my back, in turn, create a large and startling figure.
“It is finished!” groans the Second Adam from the tree.
“I’m all finished!” quotes the joyful Adam Number Three.

I don my shirt, and like Saint Veronica’s veil, it’s blessed
With visage of the dying Christ miraculously impressed.


The work is called “Ecce Homo” and the artist is Johan Thorn Prikker (1868-1932).


Paul Erlandson

Paul Erlandson is an automotive engineer by day. In his free time, he works at painting, and plays at poetry.


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