Sescenti Sexaginta Sex

For where the beginning is the end will be.
          —The Gospel of Thomas, 18:21

                    Stones will weep, ‘Overturn
us,’ roll before our choices pursue
us with threats of regret
tempting circumstances to offer
up relentless torture
                    unless we perform and not ignore
                    what others before us
preferred be left obscured or censored
in their more virtuous,
purer, expurgated versions. Words
left over after wars
                    immured empires wailing behind closed
                    doors where, within four walls,
fates worse than ours called off powerful
talks and shot, until their
blood dripped drops enough to fill in with
blanks, the spots on maps where
                    kings once walked. Whose piece this was no one
                    else has dared venture thought,
for what the past wants, it wants never
again to want for so
long as it has wanted this, to have
read aloud, spoken with
                    fullness of live voice, this chorus of
                    six lines repeated six
times. Apostasy commits he who,
by the twilight of such
hubris blinded, denies us when we
remind him lesser things
                    than his heresies were by greater
                    minds considered graver
crimes. Read, then, as you turn each leaf, how
beneath each stone deep in
her fertile soil’s moist, groaning bosom
the earth your ancestors’
                    bones keeps warm with breath for tomorrow.

1The Gospel of Thomas: Introduced and Translated by Marvin Meyer, [Saying] 18(2), the second tractate of Nag Hammadi Codex II (NHC II,2), in “The Gospel of Thomas with the Greek Gospel of Thomas” of The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition: Edited by Marvin Meyer, published at New York by HarperOne in 2018; page 142.