Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mary and Martha’s brothers

Harvey S. Mozolak

in the final bandages of illness
he was wrapped like leftovers
the kind that only unkindness
would keep uncovered

without malice
there is something of garbage
to our remains
that after exposure
to death’s silent heart
begins to smell and stink

we must be buried
deep in the earth
shovel-carved or caved
where the worm keeps its winnings
for a time uncertain

what are left are the tears
after the last care and embrace of the body
they are allowed to clean
those who cleansed
the neighbors and friends
and sisters Mary and Martha
in the home that once
held also a brother
now dead Lazarus
bound for the unwinding of years

at a distance were others
who heard late of the passing

among them
a loved one
unrelated by blood in the usual sense
as yet unscarred by the wood and stone
that would mark his mysterious end
but perfumed among them as Lord
a brother by blessing
often at table in their home
laughing in the garden
talking late by the light
and warmth of their fire

two days he let Lazarus
oversleep time
stumbling in the daylight
as if at night
his sisters searched
for ways to fold their emptiness
within the closing curtains of memory
stained with the reign of sadness

and then the follower Thomas
a twin among the dozen
felt moved to say in sympathy,
of the unseen fear
“let us also go, that we may die with him”

thus four days foul
he was found
a cold hidden fragmented loaf
damp saturated with the stench of mold

when Jesus came
at his feet they fell
as before a rock
they could not move
in the road to Bethany
on the path to the fresh-filled grave
“if you had been here
“my brother would not have died”
Martha sobbed later Mary cried

strange even rude to suggest
a look at much less beneath the lid
could he not see
blind to the battering
tears gauzing their sight?
clearly he should have seen
to have been there

but there an opening
a peek at the peak that will be raised
under the towel an awakening face
an early unwrapping
to see the edge of beyond the edge
the sight of the glory of God
unstrapped of the strife of life
and the binding strips of death

we are sisters and brothers
disciples awaiting
in the several sick and sad days
wrapped in water
the tears of God
drench our souls
buried in the believed Word
who will rise
who will live
who will never die

the rock cleaved and dragon slain
by the plague of blood
this new exodus
a parting of the earth
as if it were the sea
so aboard with him
we billow with breath

Lazarus wipes the whispered wings of eternity
from his eyes
to see again his earthbound Lord
before his departure

the dead coming out
at “God’s help”
in the lasting voice
calling “come forth”
into faith
and the following beyond
banded with the Twelve
and the faithful who followed
to the one death which will gather
our dispersion
into the children of God

“now the Passover was near”


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