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Like a litter of mice born bare and squirming
the resurrected emerge from the cracked ground,
their bodies so very pale and hairless
so small and scrawny, stunned and scrambling
to comport themselves. They had been slumbering
so it’s taking some time to muster themselves.
A few lift their palms together in prayer
but others are still hoisting themselves
from their tombs or directly from the earth.
This one is holding the top of his sarcophagus
like a surfboard. He came up with his back
to the main action and so twists to see
what will soon crash over and carry him along.
There are so many beautiful blues in this room—
the star-studded velvet-blue ceiling, the waves
lapping the great fish as it swallows Jonah—
but our man clings to his blue burden, pewter-dull,
and he is not yet sure if he will set out with it
into the waves on this strange stormy day.
From Thorny, copyright 2022 Judith Baumel. Published by Arrowsmith Press.
Judith Baumel’s book are The Weight of Numbers, for which she won The Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets; Now; The Kangaroo Girl; Passeggiate and Thorny. She is Professor Emerita of English and Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Adelphi University. She has served as President of The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, director of The Poetry Society of America and a Fulbright Scholar in Italy.