‘Jesus Summons Forth’

Jesus saw Lazarus.
Lazarus was likely in heaven,
as dead as a pear
and the very same light green color.
Jesus thought to summon him
forth from his grave.
Oh hooded one, He cried,
come unto Me.
Lazarus smiled the smile of the dead
like a fool sucking on a dry stone.
Oh hooded one,
cried Jesus,
and it did no good.
The Lord spoke to Jesus
and gave Him instructions.
First Jesus put on the wrists,
then He inserted the hip bone,
He tapped in the vertebral column,
He fastened the skull down.
Lazarus was whole.
Jesus put His mouth to Lazarus’s
and a current shot between them for a moment.
Then came tenderness.
Jesus rubbed all the flesh of Lazarus
and at last the heart, poor old wound,
started up in spite of itself.
Lazarus opened one eye. It was watchful.
And then Jesus picked him up
and set him upon his two sad feet.

His soul dropped down from heaven.
Thank you, said Lazarus,
for in heaven it had been no different.
In heaven there had been no change.

– Anne Sexton, ‘Jesus Summons Forth’ in The Complete Poems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981), 341–42.

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