Last Supper by John Estes

It feels I’ve dropped into a Charles Wright poem:

it’s Maundy Thursday, April, a fluke snow

on the 38th parallel—just past the time we put

our scarves and thick socks away—coats

with heavy flakes the pink redbuds,

makes jagged and weights the tender green

leafbuds of every broadleaf just unfolding

and threatens what daffodils remain;

the hard frost tonight will derail for sure

what hopes the irises had for a grand opening.

Still ahead: Great and Holy Friday, Holy

Saturday then Pascha.The ivory-vested bishop—

will announce the tomb is empty,

sealed and hollow as lilies at midnight,

his mitre spangling by candlelight—will rap

his crosier three times on the giant doors

and boom:“The King of Glory shall enter!”

while his flock huddles on the steps,

warmed, too, by thoughts of impending

indoor feasts—sweetbreads, eggs and bacon, cheeses,

wines and sliced beef warming in chafing dishes.


Tonight this scene remains as fey as the dogwoods

crusted with ice, as distant as hell and back.

Death is alive and well, and so am I.

No Lenten discipline exerts its crescendo:dinner

tonight is fish and parmesan-laced farfalle,

oily antipastos, the in-laws’ bubbly lambrusco.

No mind of winter welcomes spring.


The clunk of flatware on farberware, a mouth

to feed, drowns out temptations to be elsewhere

or otherwise.There’s lament enough

without troubling the other world; hey Judas,

please remember what a choice cut of love you have…

The ground is full to bursting.


About the Author:



John Estes is a doctoral student and instructor at the University of Missouri in Columbia.Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine, Zoland Poetry, Ninth Letter, The Journal, Notre Dame Review, Literary Imagination and other places.A chapbook, Breakfast with Blake at the Laocoön, is available from Finishing Line Press.See more of his work at