THE EASTER BODY
Why are you looking for the living among the dead? – Luke 24:5
Whenever the grass grew
to the second line of links in the fence
we would mow. I don’t know
what is shocked on the earth
or how all of the shocked things
bear our looking.
Or why the flies kept going
to the milk in the dandelions we cut
on the Easter that Sheldon’s car
pushed a woman into a dry ravine
where she was found to be dead
with the buffalo grass. The wind
moved the ridge. The cars slowed.
We don’t know if her body is on a mantle
or under a wide field, if she was whole
or cleaved when she was claimed.
There were women of the gospel who were forced
to look at an empty tomb, women
for whom emptiness was a shocking summons
to belief. They saw the hyssop and the sedge
flattened by a body’s weight but not
the thing that did the flattening. They were told
there would be no evidence.
And belief was the remainder, all they could bear.
The centuries moved ahead,
the spring kept happening. They say the body
walked constantly among us. Out of a belief made wholly
of absence came the changeless footsteps,
the intractable presence unrecorded by the grass.
Then one day, it was April in this century.
Only small bones
could be found by the fence
and only after we had mowed.
Natalie Garyet lives and works in Portland, Oregon, where she serves as Managing Editor of Tavern Books, a not-for-profit publishing house dedicated to poetry in translation and the revival of out-of-print poetry collections. Her poems can be found in her chapbook, Slow Witness (Berberis Press, 2013), and in The Grove Review.