As Paul’s words droned on like the furry buzz of bees, I unfolded off the floor,
crammed myself into a window. The sun crawled down
onto the horizon and stared at me, as if to say, pay attention, you
whose time is so short, you who have no idea on what day
your thread will be cut. I stared until the sky purpled, until
the darkness swept its broom through the sky, scattering shards of dust
winking at me in the blackness.

Then the words lulled me. I tried as best I could to listen, to hear
what miracles he described, only, I admit, I was painfully bored.
What were these other than fairy tales I would tell my little cousins on a long night?
The air thickened, and I found myself dreaming
of lying out in a tall field of grain. In the distance someone was reaping.
I could hear the whisper of the scythe intoning through the wheat,
could hear its urgency, saying something about this moment. Only
I lay back and closed my eyes and fell.

When I woke, he was standing over me whispering.
A crowd stared down at me, their mouths, their eyes wide,
as if they could not decide whether or not
this was a moment of horror or triumph. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said,
“He’s alive!”

Afterwards, we climbed the stairs, broke bread. I stared at him,
surprised not just at the oddity of being alive
but also understanding everything
he had said was true: a heavy yoke I shouldered that night
slipping his words now ringing true around my unwilling neck.

Articles by David Holper

Loading...