Kathleen Aguero

Lazarus, Raised

And when he had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth.  And he that was dead came forth, bound head and foot with graveclothes…. John 11:43-44.


Voices fade then roar.  Figures shifting

in and out of focus unbind his hands and feet.

Lazarus shoves them aside.

Last thing he knew, he’d lain down on his pallet

weak and parched. Then he was crawling

though a tunnel.  He couldn’t remember

why. Some mission he hadn’t volunteered for?

Now suddenly he’s been yanked back to find himself

in the bright sun and nearly naked.  Villagers

surround him––friends or foes?

Adrenaline thaws his tingling fingers.

There in the distance water, fields, familiar bridge.

So where exactly has he been?


Lazarus can’t form the sounds

to tell what his eyes have seen,

and no one wants to listen anyway.

The odor of decay wafting from his robes,

his tendency to startle, crouch, then throw a punch

each time the miller’s cart drives by,

keeps people at a distance.


Nights he wakes shouting,

face drenched in sweat,

fist clenched. Hush, his sister

whispers, you’re home safe now.

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