Working in a metal shop is hot, dirty work.
The bellows blew sparks into his beard, burning him.
He breathes smoke into his lungs, always coughing!
Tears and sweat and soot cover his face, muscles ache from swinging the hammer, Forming iron
Into shapes that people need, tools for different uses.

Acario is old but still strong, always dirty.
His name means “ungrateful.” He is!
His life has been pain and hatred and drunkeness.
Never knew his father, mother hated him.
Growing up was fighting, beatings, stealing.
He fights, gets drunk, cheats everyone he can.

Lives in Jerusalem, a Jew, believes in nothing!
Yesterday, in a crowd, people avoiding him, his smell!
Watched a man riding a donkey, people cheering.
Waving palm branches, stupid fools!
“Who is this?” he growled.
Someone said, “a prophet, maybe the Messiah.”

Acario spit on the ground, swore, turned to leave.
Suddenly, the man stopped, got down, came up to him.
“Hello Acario.” Touched his arm,
Looked into his eyes. No one ever had looked into his eyes.
He smiled, then left, walked away!

He knew me! Impossible! His eyes, friendly,
Not full of hate, something else, don’t understand.
Feel different, why?

A few days later, working, thinking,
A Roman Centurion swaggered into the room.
Lowering his head, keeping the plume on his helmet
From brushing the cobwebs.
Breastplate gleaming in the light of the forge.
The face hard, cruel eyes, small mouth, crooked and yellow teeth.
He is mean, foul smelling, powerful.
Hatred came back.

He curses and pushes, demanding service.
Acario was afraid of this Roman, how he could hurt him.
What does he want? I have no money!
“Give me some big nails, Jew!”
Nails? Why does he want nails?
“Nine nails, swine!” “Move!”

He’s gone, with nine nails. Big shot!
One farthing. One! Iron cost more than that!
I hate Romans! God wouldn’t allow them here, if there was a god.
They say the man that knew me
Will drive the dogs out. Fools!

What’s all the noise? Soldiers dragging some guy,
Falling, carrying a timber.
People jeering, spitting, cursing.
Who is it? It’s that guy! The prophet!
What happened?

Acario followed the crowd, outside the wall.
The hill is gloomy, smells of death.
Romans hang criminals on crosses here.
Always enjoyed watching the pain. Other people suffering for a change.Used to it, except the stench. Serves them right!

Three men lying on crosses on the ground.
There is the Centurion, kneeling next to them,
pounding nails into their hands and feet.
Screams and blood and cursing.
So that’s what he wanted the nails for!
Damn! Those are my nails!

Who are they? Wonder what they did?
Wait, in the center, it’s that guy, the prophet.
A prophet and two thieves? Ha! Those fools! Look at him!
I’ll watch awhile, see how they die. Something to do.

The guy that knew me is in the center. Quiet, doesn’t curse or beg.
What the… He’s looking at me. He remembers! He does know me!
It’s a mistake, I don’t know him.
Why does he keep looking at me?
It’s not my fault. His trouble, not mine!

Wish I hadn’t gone. Prophet!
Hanging there, with criminals.
Who does he think he is, looking at me?
I didn’t do anything! Made a few nails. It’s the Romans!
I can see the hurt in his eyes, looking at me. Those eyes! Who is he?

My eyes burn! Crying! I never cry, just take the pain.
When he looked at me, I know he knew me!
Why do I feel guilty? I just made some nails! I’m sorry!

Acario knelt and wept.