Thirty Silver Coins: A Poem

As we head into Holy Week, consider some verses that are not often discussed at Easter, but are significant to me:
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (Matthew 27:5-8, NIV)
Do you glimpse the grace Jesus gave to the alien and stranger, providing by His blood even the means to relinquish our dead? I leave you with a poem I wrote as a response to such generosity.
Thirty Silver Coins
by Mitali Perkins

I need a place to bury my dead.
I own no land.
No part of this country is mine.
No dust to take her bones and blood from my hands.
Where may I lay her down to rest?
Kneel by her grave and weep my farewell?
Who will grant me the gift of grief
in this place where I don’t belong?

The news spreads through our tents and shacks like birdsong:
We have some soil.

It’s strewn with shards of ceramic,
broken bits of pots and cups,
clay of no use or value.
I’ll pick them up, clean the ground with my hands,
and make a holy place for her.
I’ll water the dirt with my tears.

Who paid for it?

The piles of bodies had grown, the stench,
disease adding more to the heap.
We begged, we cried, we pleaded:
We die, too. We are not just passing through.
No word. A civic silence.

Who spoke for us?

The coins were stained with blood, I’m told.
They were useless, too, like the clay, like the dead.
Now our bones, blood, and flesh
will mingle with theirs under the ground.
An inheritance for our beloved.
I weep, and bury her,
and whisper my thanks to the Unknown.

Note: I'm working on a young adult novel that's due by the end of the month, so I'm taking a hiatus from blogging for a couple of weeks. God willing, I'll be done with the revision on 4/24. If you want to know more about my books for young readers, visit the Fire Escape, and please, pray for me.

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