James Mulhern – The Guard

James Mulhern’s writing has appeared in literary journals over two hundred times and has received several awards. Mr. Mulhern was granted a fully paid writing fellowship to Oxford University.

A short story was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

His novel, Give Them Unquiet Dreams, was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. He was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2021 for his poetry.


The Guard

I sit in the pew next to the stained glass
of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus.
I enjoy the play of light—
red, gold, and green illuminations.

Jesus, a wooden cross covering
his cream tunic and carmine cape,
bends down and speaks to Veronica,
a woman veiled in blue and white.

She holds a cloth to wipe his face.
What does Jesus say to her?
Thank you, I suppose.
The guard behind them watches.

Is he a sad witness?
Does he have doubts like me?
Perhaps he listens, as I do, for an illumination.
Or maybe he wants to escape the searing Sun.

 

 

 

 

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