by Lisa A. Nielson
Lazarus did not have a wife, but he came back. Ten days you've been gone and the kitchen is still the same. You butter knife crusted with toast crumbs. Your cereal bowl on the counter. I am afraid to throw you away, put the bowl in the cupboard, pour your last carton of milk down the sink. Husband, I have finished the wash. Only one pair of pants from you. The blue ones you wore two days before this started. I picked through your pockets looking for some change to spell your return— there was only one receipt: your last lunch from Thomas's. March 12. 12:06. The chicken sandwich. I washed you away. The pants are folded in your second dresser drawer. The rest of the laundry came up lintless. Inside the house—quiet, the books all read. Outside, the sky swollen so tight the moon cannot move. The stars, one solid flash. There is nowhere to go— the heavens are closed. We spoke once of miracles. Remember them. Think of Lazarus: moving his fingers, his toes, his chest heaving upwards. If you will your body back I can do the rest. Your shirts are already ironed. The sleeves starched strong as wings. They could fly from your closet. Before bed, I brush my teeth with your toothbrush and find one red strand of your hair by the sink. It is a sign— this too shall pass. I curl myself in your pajamas, and breathe you in. I will pray you back. Eyes. Wrist. Shoulder. It is possible you have come as something else. The goldfish has been swimming your name for days. Some things are missing. The cap from the toothpaste. Your favorite shoes. If you are hiding, do not be afraid. Remember, miracles. They are warmer than they appear.