Last week’s wake is this week’s merry-making.
Friends and strangers press inside the house
Where Lazarus, the breathing miracle
Reclines beside the low-set dinner table.
Martha orders women back and forth
With plates of roasted veal and saffron rice
To serve the Rabbi and his followers.
Men recount, embellishing the news,
Pointing first to Lazarus then Jesus.
From a veiled corner she appears,
Wearing deep green linen, carrying
Her dowry in her left arm’s graceful curve.
She gazes down at strangers’ sandaled feet
As she carves an aisle through the room
To where her brother and the rabbi sprawl.
With care, Mary rests the earthen jar
On the hard floor, lifts her skirt and kneels
Next to the guest of honor’s naked feet.
He stops mid-conversation as she lifts
The perfume’s lid. The costly nuptial
Aroma silences the chatty guests.
One by one they turn toward the scene.
She pours the oil over his dusty feet,
Then rubs her fingers over callouses,
Knobby bones, between his blistered toes:
A muddy anointing for a would-be king.
She stares at him, undoes her chestnut hair
Then bows to wipe his feet as if with silk.
The pious and the curious watch with scorn.


I know: Christ is raised—
but, please, no resurrection
hymns of praise, no light.

Alleluias sting
my lips. The scent of lilies
offends my senses.

Monday, a child died.
Limbs and laughter—burned to
soot and bits of bone.

Sunlight stings my eyes.
Let’s sit alone, together,
in cold spring silence.

Susan Spear holds an MFA in poetry with an emphasis in verse craft from Western State Colorado University. She teaches poetry and creative writing at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, CO. Her poems have appeared in Academic Questions, The Lyric, Mezzo Cammin, Relief, Angle, The Rotary Dial and other journals, both print and on-line. She serves as the Managing Editor of Think, a journal of poetry, reviews, and criticism, housed at Western State.

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