Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Poem for National Poetry Month

Relic

by Christine Heppermann

When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
                --Kings 13:21

After the grownups figured out where most of the blood
was coming from, my best friend’s mom, a nurse, ran
to the bottom of the cul-de-sac and combed the gravel
under the spokes for my missing piece.

Doctors propped it back in place, and for years
it fooled everyone—smiling, chewing, filling the hole,
but tilting more and more until no creative rearranging
could hide the rot nibbling the veneer.

Ask any Lazarus, it’s not the leaving that’s difficult,
it’s the return.  You brush and rinse and still
phantom soil creeps into your sockets. Someone
tongues your hidden scar and you remember

how they plucked you from the ground
when you were young and riding so fast that
a clutch at the brakes sent you flying
over the handlebars.

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