Thursday, April 5, 2012


Harvey S. Mozolak

the larder of Mary and her sister
held more than the large crock of lard
powdered herbs flour salt and dried fruit
there was a jar high on a shelf
alabaster of expensive
intensely aromatic amber nard
a spice not only hard
to get but beyond most ability to buy
her brother Lazarus had found and bought it
at the market when a booth
was being torn down completely sold
because its owner had died
hit by an errant Roman chariot
in a rush to get somewhere
to quell a riot or lift a cup of Jewish wine
purchased cheap with oaths and threats
Mary often said she pulled the curtain
on the cupboard open just to breath the fragrance
Martha said it made her remember
too much why they kept it
against that day when death would close a door
and allow the stench of death’s decay to retch their family
would instead that the aromas of stew and bread
filled their home
and then came that day
when Lazarus sick with fever
could not leave his bed then came the dread
his stillness no longer laughter
the coins from his work
willing hands stoking the fire
the strength of these two sisters no more
they called their other almost another brother
sweet Jesus come
and late as he never was he came
delayed as if unneeded
with the Twelve bearing belated blessing surely
condolence at the corpse of the beloved friend
comfort indeed he carried in a strong voice
come forth and Lazarus did
trailing grave bindings unraveling
among the lavender planted at the tomb’s entrance
and now comes the Passover
remembrance of the freeing from death
under the beams dripping with lamb’s blood
the room has been reserved and readied
Martha is cooking the lamb and mixing sweet harsos
in the yard below at the kitchen fire
salting the water because she no longer has tears
undistracted from other’s preparations
Mary has come from home carrying a small parcel
wrapped in the bleached linen of a table cloth
for Jesus poor Jesus
he speaks of a terrible end
she brings for the breaking a jar
of unneeded nard
for blessing the blessed
at the table celebrating mercy
scenting the life that gives life

No comments:

Post a Comment