Lazarus’s Alarm Clock
Her skin still thick with bed heat and the day
stretching out before, mouth tacky,
stomach empty, bladder pressured, and brain creaking
one thought to the next, she wants only to climb back
into bed, wants only to fall again, to sink, to float
her way down into nothingness.
Every night we die, and she likes it.
The resurrection, heralded not by angel’s trumpet
and heaven’s crack across the sky, but by blaring
electronic buzzing, angry sound of the color orange.
That is what says “Rise Lazarus” every morning, jamming light
back into her brain, flood of data and sensation.
Such a mean way to resurrect from the dead.
It’s doubtful Lazarus’s rising was a slow and luxurious lifting
out of the dark like Saturday morning, someone
rubbing your back until you rejoin the world.
No, he was jarred awake like early Monday
after a weekend of bitter arguments or killing a hog,
or fevered late night fucking followed by insomniatic regret.
And Lazarus, out floating in the void jarred awake,
life a stinging sizzle back into his cells, sound loud
and flaring panic. Maybe his first thought was “No, not yet,”
his heart jumping and racing with shock.
Maybe Lazarus was stepping into Paradise when yanked back
to this world of pain and lies, beauty and sickness,
hunger and light, away from undone, Nothingness,
and made, yet again, to be Something.
Melissa Helton is Assistant Professor of English at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. She earned her MFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her poems and photography has been published in Motif v. 4, The Notebook, Things I Have to Tell You, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. She was judge's choice in Still: The Journal’s poetry contest 2014. She lives and writes on her family's subsistence farm in the mountains of Kentucky.