the second time,
the last time, you hid from them
the coughing, the shortness of breath.
you took the pain to a desert place,
sealing a scroll with instructions
to wait five days before opening,
before following. it only said,
see you soon. how you desired
that head start, those five days
away from intruding voices.
how you must have prayed
they would be enough.
“a final note for Lazarus” is from a cycle of poems that take the form of letters directed to the Biblical character, each questioning his personal thoughts on being raised from the dead – leaving a peaceful afterlife and returning to the pain of this world. This final note would be laid on Lazarus’ grave, after he successfully dodged all attempts to bring him back.
Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is a once and future English/Philosophy teacher from Boston with an MFA from Seattle Pacific University. MEH is a Pushcart Nominee with works appearing in various journals and anthologies, including The Anglican Theological Review, Syntax (Denver), Poetry East, Relief and Rhino. He is currently a professor of education in Massachusetts.