RAISING OF LAZARUS
thought himself blinded, at first,
until the grave-clothes tore
away and his eyes
blinked cold and gritty in the noon light.
could make out faces, which meant nothing
at first, not with the
wailings of unpardoned souls
so fresh in his ears. He mumbled a
tried to understand why his sisters wept for joy
he was dead, when all men were clay.
What was joy? His flesh,
perhaps, looked whole,
but it seethed underneath,
rot from the bones and return
to its sleep. He shambled
tried to speak, and only moaned.
His sisters clucked
his weak and shaking limbs. Martha rushed
to the market for this
herb and that, for wine
to calm the stomach that no longer
much down but dry bread. Mary watched,
eyes calm, as if
eyes could stand at the judgement
with this generation and condemn
If he had faith, like her, like the crowds
of lepers and
bleeding women before him,
he would have been well in an instant.
maybe not. Maybe his old, strange friend,
rabble-rouser and speaker in riddles, had at last
found a wound
even he could not cure. The dead
were never meant to walk with the
even the skeptic priests who poked at him,
sort of lie it could be, knew this much.
And the slow
strengthening, the growing unmarked spaces
on the page between his
maybe this, too, was illusion.
years, when the sound of birdsong
had returned, and the colors of
and sunlight, he would remember not the first
stumbling out of the tomb, the first aching thuds
of a reborn
heart. Though that was the story
his sisters told, when memory had
to tell its tale and laugh. By then he had a
again, a bishop’s cap, a table full of congregants
friends, and he was not the only one
reborn. The world had
changed, and changed again,
while he clawed his way out of his
But he alone remembered this:
the lost months learning to
walk again in darkness.
The straining shamble of a body marked for
but yet to find it, and the choice to go on.
Lord, I believe, was not a
mumble side by side
with the obedient congregation, nor a ticket
to some other world,
but only the ache of a once-dead muscle
to move one foot further forward, a little,
the other. And again.
Ada Hoffmann is an
autistic computer scientist from Canada. Her poetry has appeared in
Stone Telling, Goblin Fruit,
and , Imaginarium 4: The
Best Canadian Speculative Writing.
Her poetry has also been nominated for the Rhysling Award. You can
find her online at http://ada-hoffmann.com/
or on Twitter at @xasymptote.