Jairus

Jairus

So, God takes your child by the hand
and pulls her from her deathbed.
He says: 'Feed her, she is ravenous.'

You give her fruits with thick hides
- pomegranate, cantaloupe -
food with weight, to keep her here.

You hope that if she eats enough
the light and dust and love
which weave the matrix of her body

will not fray, nor wear so thin
that morning sun breaks through her,
shadowless, complete.

Somehow this reanimation
has cut sharp the fear of death,
the shock of presence. Feed her

roast lamb, egg, unleavened bread:
forget the herbs, she has an aching
fast to break. Sit by her side,

split skins for her so she can gorge,
and notice how the dawn
draws colour to her just-kissed face.


from Corpus (Cape, 2004), copyright © Michael Symmons Roberts 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Books & cds by Michael Symmons Roberts