Inserted into the Calendar

by Stephen Cushman


                       (Caravaggio, Incredulità di san Tommaso


Dactylon hōthe, digitum huc,

hither thy finger to feast in the gash

of unbroken black, poke the fat shadows

shafted with light in clear-dark baroque

it never quite is, no matter how badly

the sun has betrayed us, how faithless it’s been

with hemispheres elsewhere, don’t be so faithless,

put it right here, your pointer exactly

on where he gets off, suggestive Caravaggio

getting off somehow on slipping an index

into that slit, apocryphal, unbiblical,

what does it day, it says confession

but not penetration, in his whole oeuvre

no lady nude, what incredulity, hither the finger

adoring withholds from skeptical diddling,

what is believing but light enough to see

obscurity clearly, what better saint

for our shortest day, Wednesday this year,

over the hump.