The first night

The evening of the first day
Of newness, was it bright?
After the stone-heavy coldness of death
Had flooded with cavernous light?
Were they, who’d slept in the garden, 
Willing the morning on?
Wide-eyed for dawn, recounting the day
That the statutes of death had gone.

I’ve lost a loved one and slept
Fitful, waking to grieve
Where my waking moments were piercings afresh
Theirs would have been a reprieve.
Did they lie in the room all together?
Did their nerves flick, electric and tense?
Did they bicker and proffer alternative truths?
Shaping Truth to their truths and their sense.

Did Mary smile, just a little
Renewed in her newness, the dew
From the garden, a still-precious memory of dawn,
The freedom He promised was true.
Did she stare at her jar for anointing?
Unopened and useless as death
Overcome by the thought of the wide-open tomb
Wide-open and useless as death.

And what of your heart, my Peter
Housed it hope like a small bird in flight?
Or strength, like the air-splitting wings of an eagle
Or shame like the crowing at night?
Did pain make you pace out the hours
Till your Love had a place in your breath?
Did you know, in those night-filling hours
That He loved as He broke open death.

Image: The Empty Tomb, 1889, Mikhail Nesterov

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