Stephen was delicious because he was beaten,
tenderized by many stones,
his forgiveness-tender flesh
softened by killing blows.
Sharper than any butcher's cleaver
is the word of God,
living and active,
piercing to the division of joints and marrow.
When for it he was finally pierced
between soul and spirit
he was made to be a perfect meal.
His God was a consuming fire
who devoured all his apostles
with delight, and smelled the smoke
of their burning as a sweet aroma,
for only their outsides charred
as on a grill or cast-iron
but their flesh was rare and easily cut.
Andrew and Peter were hung
upside down like pheasants,
left to age until perfect for a few days.
This is not to everyone's taste,
but monks and martyrs recommend it.
Paul was a work of art,
stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
tenderized several times,
on one single trip he was
and injected with a fiery seasoning
designed to amaze.
Dry-aged then for two years
he was finally drained
and offered up quietly
without much to-do,
just as the sophisticates like it.
This is an excellent way
to prepare an older animal.
Only to a privileged few
does it fall
to be cooked over direct flame.
Most of us, like Paul, are allowed to get old.
or perhaps it is simply a divine preference for brisket.
For your sake we are cooked
all the day long
in a little wine
which will finally break down
the tougher-habited sinews.
It's been a long time coming
But soon the great fork of God
will make your flesh
to fall tenderly off your bones,
the provings past,
the tastings done,
and you, served up