Poetry Month: Day 21 – Laura Wang

Nearing Lazarus’s Tomb – Laura Wang (appearing in Christian Century)

He’d seen it all. Swathes of nothingness
spun into stars, the slapping of the first fin onto land,
and now these creatures, by far the cleverest
and the saddest—though listing it that way
felt faulty, as if all happenings unfurled inch by inch
instead of blooming in one cacophony,
the apple crumpling just outside the city walls.

And it wasn’t even an apple, or fig,
or pomegranate glinting with infernal seeds,
though he’d accommodate their legends,
accept provisional truths, the same way they worked
with the earth un-sphered and stilled
in leaf-thin sketch.
To overlook
imprecision in the premises, concede
to the limits of both flesh and paper,
was what it meant to translate, as to love.
Which struck him as strange pottery:
roll everything that’s been into a coil
and score it with each day; cram self into cage
of clay and bone; daub their closed eyes in slip
and wait for it to flake off to new sight. It seemed to take
what they called a lifetime.

But they didn’t have that, not right here,
beside the village known as House-of-Misery
whose people rent their clothes. Before he even spoke
Mary’s tears were falling warm onto his feet,
carving clear trails through the coat of dust.

If you had been here. He stood
enveloped in the sound of all their moans,
entangled in her locks of dampening hair.
If you had been here. All grief’s audacity
pitched in her splintering voice, she raised her head
to look at him, and in her water-darkened eyes
he who’d seen all things felt this:
pain’s veil dividing now from everything
that is not-now. And he began to weep.

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About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
This entry was posted in Fiction in Review, Non-Fiction in Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Poetry Month: Day 21 – Laura Wang

  1. Laura Wang says:

    Thank you for posting my poem; I am really glad that you enjoyed it and honored that you chose to share it, and I find your blog very interesting.

    • Sean Smith says:

      I really enjoyed it, I spent a few days hunting through poems on Christian Century trying to find one that had the right flavor or feel. Last year I just shared the poems I found on facebook, but they were my favorites. This year I wanted to find all new poems, and it was a lot more work. The work was made more worthwhile by finding poems like yours! Thank you for coming on and commenting!

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