God help us, I wrote a poem!

So I spend time around a lot of creative people. I have for a long time wanted to write something creative. A few months ago I stumbled across a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, alleged to have been said at the end of his life: “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has got to go.” And I thought, surely there is a story in there. At the same time, I was working on a reflection on the story of the raising of Lazarus. The two joined together, and I set about trying to write a short story.  I had set a deadline for myself of June 22, which was when we would have a talent show at The Abbey.

But try as I might, I could not get a story to emerge on the page. As the date approached, the learned Dr. Shanti Weiland made a passing comment that I might actually be trying to write a poem. So with that encouragement, I changed course. So I offer below, my poem.

Resurrection Lament
by Kelley Hudlow

It did not happen all at once,
the garish pictures on the wall.
Each one creeped in,
an inching invasion.
It began with a single strip
of white linen tacked up
to remind him.

Resurrection is a curious thing.
Like waking from a dream,
All you are left with
are half memories, a twisted
bed sheet.

He remembered a voice,
like his mother’s when he held
his breath underwater. But the rest
were shadows and light,
undefined, but inviting.

A life done-over is a bore.
What does he talk about at supper?
One sister just dotes
and the other is too busy
to talk. He just scratches
out pictures and pins
them to the wall.

He visited those who went before,
searching their memories.
The little girl, she grabbed
his hand pulling him to see
a bouquet of flowers.
The young man was too
busy and dismissed him
with a shake of his head.

He visited some who came after.
The woman smiled, handed him
a piece of dyed cloth.
The nameless saints would only
talk of the cold and today’s weather.

The man with the answers
came to dinner once.
He was uncomfortable
looking at the pictures,
seeing his future, and left
before dessert.

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