At The Procurator's Office In The Fortress Antonia

In those religions called the Mysteries,
they reenact the dying of young gods
(so says the whispered gossip).  Each of these
performs rites that depict a gruesome death
upon the god.  The man in front of me---
conveyed here by the grim priests' perfidy---
makes all those idols merely fantasies.
His bearing speaks regal reality,
of which those idols are but parodies.
Am I a joke's butt, whom the high priest prods?
Or am I something more---the nominee
appointed by the choice of History
to sacrifice this god from Nazareth---
with what rewards? or, worse, what penalty?

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