I wonder when Satan first proposed the idea
and how long Judas held out,
how many times he said I can no more
betray him than betray myself,
but that was a possibility Satan
understood only too well.
And was it jealousy of the woman at Bethany
jealously of the promise that her story
would always be told,
or was it more?
Was it an attempt to save his own life,
fear of the Praetorian guard so great
that he would betray he who
named him and called him from shadow?
What of the hours spent walking
and talking and smoking and drinking?
What of the exhausting days and late
nights, and midnight laughter
around the fire?
* * *
St. Mark leaves Judas’ actions unexplained
and St. Matthew, so stunned, can only
muster the possibility of a bribe.
But St. Luke, filled with sorrow and anguish
and sympathy, insists that Judas
was possessed by Satan. The devil
made him do it, and St. Luke
dares us to disagree.