Let Me Be
If we juggle the stiffened corpse like this,
who knows what harm we’ll cause? His arms
splay like branches of a withered olive tree.
What fool’s errand is it that we, mourning
Lazarus, are pretending he’s simply asleep?
There we are in the painting, looking back
at the weeping rabbi in disbelief.
Four days Lazarus lay here, unmoving.
Where are the signs he’ll return to this side
of life? His eyes – almost opaque, as if
clouded over. Is he not distraught to leave
the tomb? Even upwind, he stinks. His skin,
like dried petals. He’ll not trust unsure feet
to stand. Clumsy legs. Tongue that stumbles
over speech: thin whirring sounds, like locusts
in the wind. He’s already started his journey,
swaddled in strips now coming undone.
Let me be, he’ll say, and try to climb back in.
Bonnie Naradzay leads poetry workshops at a day shelter for homeless people and at a retirement center. Poems have appeared in New Letters, Tampa Review, Tar River Poetry, Poet Lore, JAMA, The Pinch, Innisfree, The Guardian, Seminary Ridge Review, Anglican Theological Review, Split This Rock, Atlanta Review, Delmarva Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and others.
The Ekphrastic Review
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