What could be more surreal
than Salvador visiting
a baroque Roman church?  

But this Christ of Saint John of the Cross
stands amid frescoes and sculpture spanning
centuries. An act of artistic faith,
this modern Christ in a drone’s-eye-view
over Calvary, a fishing boat below—
is a gift of contradictions,
fruit of a saint’s fiery dark nights
and an artist’s restless search for God.  

No coincidence, nearby is a cross
said to be miraculous, saved from fire
that consumed this church,
said to cure a Roman plague,
brought by a pope in COVID
to St. Peter’s for his lone walk to pray
in silence for healing in another
time of plague.  

And would Dalí smile to see close by
the tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Michiel,
who died of poisoning,
whose cook was put to death by the pope?
But rumors still persist,
it was the Borgias.  

I rest my camera and try to fathom
faith, real and surreal,
that hung
and hangs
before us.