The white blossom blankets the little hills, thick and warm and curled like shavings of skin. The locals pointed me up here, saying “Kirisuto” in their northern Japanese accents. And now I’m standing in front of the little hills, each with a cross on them, each with a bilingual signboard in front of them. One with a dirty spade discarded next to it.
The one on the right, according to the bad English scratched under the gorgeous Japanese, is the resting place of the remains of Jesus Christ’s brother, Isukiri, who died on the cross in his place. His remains were brought back here to Shingo, in Aomori Prefecture.
The one on the left is Kirisuto, Japanese for Christ. The locals believe he came to Japan when he was 21, to study Shinto. They say he left Judea again before the crucifixion, and returned to Shingo, living to the age of 106.
You read about all this, didn’t you? I barely listened. I coped with the tattoos. And then the brands. And then the floggings, and the torture, and the crucifixion that collapsed one of your lungs. I’ve had all this catching up to do. Right across the world to catch up with you.
I walk around Kirisuto’s grave mound, hating knowing what I’m going to see. The disturbed earth. The bulge in the mound.
Poor beloved ruined you, curled up around Jesus’ bones.
(Written 2004, and it’s bugged me ever since. There’s the germ of something useful to me in here,)