Starfish on Calvary

December 23, 1996|By Lalita Noronha-Blob

Suspended from a nail,

a brown, spiny starfish glistens with gloss,

two arms, two legs, spread wide

the fifth, a body and face, like a Christ-man on the

cross. Tenderly, thumb and index finger trembling,

she lifts him into my outstretched palm

4&

''Mom, is this a real starfish?''

She is strangely calm.

@2

Black painted buttons shine off his diskplate

on the undersurface where his mouth

once slurped up food particles

funneled in synchrony

through long, sweeping tentacles

in perfect, radial symmetry.

B4

A tiny starfish, a baby Santa holds her hostage

she sighs, traces outlines, in and out, five times.

How can I console my child?

''You know, echinoderms regenerate.

One arm and disk grows back

into a whole new starfish!''

.

Underneath a miniature pine

fat, jolly guys, arms outstretched,

in caps, gloves and black buttons,

consort with laughing snow girls

dressed in tantalizing white

in a red light district of Bethlehem.

)

She looks at her feet,

at the basket of crucified starfish

awaiting reincarnation into ornaments, magnets,

she looks in my eyes,

her face implacable, unyielding,

and then -- she smiles -- in compassion for me.

Pub Date: 12/23/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.