Lazarus Unbound

John 11:1-45

To the sound of distant weeping I exited:
“Eleazar, Eleazar,” my sisters cried
but the keen came as if from the bottom of a well,
recessing like a long, slow tide; fevered rasp
of buzzing insects in the sick room;
and my scroll was torn in half with what I thought
was finality.

All was still. I rose and spun
and I cooled like a stone skipped into a river
pain and broken body shrugged off, a spent husk:

At this point of the page I resume:
I had shed this tomb of a body and rolled back the stone.
In golden sunlight, walking under a canopy
of lupine-blue sky, hands at waist facing forward, fingers open
as bobbing seas of wildflowers
– anemones and poppies, rockrose, Aaron’s rod-
weave their stems around my wrists,
and I absorb the honeyed petrichor of a desert in bloom,
murmuration of sparrows from a wadi nearby

swallows swooping from the tops of locust trees.
The difference between a field and a wasteland is in the flowers.
All was rest. All was God. All was peace.

A kaleidoscope of colors and I am jerked back
by the voice of love, insistent.
From the depths he called me to rising with a voice tear-choked.
Then the longed-for renewal of breath back into a body
now stretched like a new wineskin across my soul.
I am a somnambulist, stumbling pale in my shroud
toward an aperture so bright all was white beyond,
heart pounding like a child’s eager fist at a door.

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