03 April 2018

Waiting with the Living and the Dead

 "Presence in the Midst." J. Doyle Penrose (1916)

Among the Easter Meeting of living Friends, I
see dead ones in their old bodies.  Is this a trick
of corporality that senses and hears in
familiar (rather than strange and stranger modes)--
how minds see, half by absent-minded memory?

As a white person who’s worked and educated
her way up into the middle class, I confess
I find mortality exciting.  While afraid
of lingering pain, I love a good mystery:
How much can I serve in time remaining to me?

Does what we achieve here enhance an afterlife?
I want to ask Jesus, and so imagine him
sitting next to me in his dark brown, ever-half-
my-age male form.  He smells, as if he’s been homeless.
It’s all I can do not to move.  I don’t ask if

we sit in heaven in our human skin, if we
sit in a circle or around a table. Or
if we are dispersed into the Milky Way,
bringing our nutrients with us and unconscious
of any other life and sense of smell and sight.

Jesus surrounds me.  I smell like him, compounded
by mortality--the teacher and the lesson. 
On this Day of Resurrection, I would restore
dead sons and daughters to their parents, the ones cut down
by guns and crassness. I would give them everything.

A full life before death. No fear.  No poverty.
I look around.  The dead are gone, and Jesus, too, leaving
his calm.  A gift.  A bustle of worshippers rise
after waiting on God, and take the hands reaching
from right and left, meeting lively full-hearted smiles.

Note: I disabled comments for April 2018, International Poetry Writing Month, because I am trying to write and post daily and experiment with prompts from other sites.  If you wish to make specific constructive comments, I would be delighted to exchange emails.  I also often post poems on Facebook.  Public comments will be possible here again in May. 

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
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© 2018 Susan L. Chast