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Lazarus & the Real Boy

 

1. HE WHO IS NOW CALLED LAZARUS

was born a plain boy we

christened STUART

and thus it went

 

             first his brain yellowed then grew

             claws and we

             were sore afraid

AND so Stuart waned and so his corpus rose

like a mountain and lo, it would hold several dogs—

a sofa, pack of smokes and some broken remotes there were

guns in there too (sore afraid)

 

         the worst plan ever became the only plan ever

 

        we wet the dirt

       with our faces, cracked

       lips on broke-bottle hopes

 

Stuart no more. But if we call out, “Lazarus!”

who is it that comes to us and who

will we be THEN

when we receive him?

 

II. THAT WEEK

For 3 days, shouting from the upstairs room. Behind the door: a TV and a man. Plates of picked-at pizza and hills of dishes rising through the thorns of forks.

On the 4th day, food no longer looked human, was brittle, dark on edges.  Newspapers aged like teeth. The body smelled of need.

And still the blue-white light washed his cheeks and brow and bled from the crack under the door but he was gone.

On the 5th day, had he been able to speak, Lazarus might have said he was going on a journey. From which he might not…

When there was shouting, she had longed for silence.  When there was silence, her longing died. The 6th day.

On the 7th day, God rested his case.

 

III. WHEN HE CALLS

Every day he calls from jail and

sometimes he’s lonely

and asks after the animals: have they

forgotten him and do I

still love him and asks sometimes

for a lullaby.

 

Lazarus, I say, get up. The door

is unlocked.

 

IV. LOVING LAZARUS

that he is alive,

 

that though it be poor, food will enter

his face,

 

that has mouth, that what is mouthshaped

may sometimes seem smile,

 

that blinks green glass

then reason decouples

at the rate of question, divide,

 

that we wait, watch

at the rate of kind

 

is he coming

or gone,

 

that stand that sit that he

 

that head will fall

 

into my lap like loose stone

that softbreathing pelt,

 

foot soldier of

faith and mechanics,

 

that smell of still living,

his hands dust storm and dirt water

 

that simple collision of feet,

 

floor-clothes, the bed, boxes,

piles crumbs cartons,

 

that he has risked everything

by rising, by opening

lungs, reach

 

out a hand that he is alive

that he has walked through years, that this

might be good day, be best day, yes

 

V. BIRTH

On the first day, the wound was cut.  All stories start with a wound.

 

 

After the War

 

I. For Septimus (knotted)

having run out of boat

nerved  disquiet  

            fever sweeping

                    into our mouths

here a man, at once threadlike flutter

deep in the disappearing

                                                            explodes

 

II. For Clarissa (nerved)

sweeping    out of      into     woman

            knotted     she threadlike

                                        mouths a fever

disquiet       at the deep flutter

              in our boat

            the everyday     disappearing

run, a woman once wrote

                              having crashed

 

III. After the War

theev eryda yhasc rashe dhewr oteme aning amanH ereme aning explo des

 

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Kristina Bicher is a poet, essayist, and translator living in New York City. Her poems have been published in Ploughshares, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Plume, Denver Quarterly, Barrow Street, Narrative, Painted Bride Quarterly, and others. Her essays and profiles have appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, and Columbia Journal, with translations in the Harvard Review and Tupelo Quarterly. She is the author of  the poetry collection “She-Giant in the Land of Here-We-Go-Again” due out from MadHat Press in the fall of 2019 and “Just Now Alive” (2014). She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.  @KristinaABicher  Instagram

Featured photo credit: stephanie roberts @ringtales Instagram Sound Cloud

 

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