Mary Magdalene’s Lament

Blame not the whore for loving what she wilt.

I would give gold for plums in the dark midwinter.

Do not expect to be loved. Desired, yes,

always and in all places,

wanted for what you had,

not what you made with your hands.

If I danced for them, I did not speak.

Silence was gold that could be traded for plum pits.

I could keep silence.

But he took it for his own and left me nothing

but my voice.

I washed his feet.

I found plums in midwinter,

stooped to clear his dishes.

I spoke.

And he loved me true as

man can love a woman

he does not touch in the ways of men.

If I gave all, he gave nothing but the fact

that all is good and goodness stays.

Peach pits become soil when the winter is wet.

Wood lice make mulch of the oak.

And I could plant plums with the touch

of my hand to his temple.

Watching him wither to winter was a chance to see

how the seasons change too tragic.

When my seedlings were lost in the drought,

when the flood swept away what I had set aside

for the winter to come, all I could mourn was the soil.

My plums grew only in him, for him.

So damn the dishes

and the reward I would have reaped.

A dead man can leave no harvest,

least of all with a whore

who loved the taste of plums

more than that of a man.

His blood made the earth dark.

I watched his mother’s hands white.

Wrap the head I once touched so differently in a cloth

that saves the holy and the too hot sun from each another.

I used to think that they were one and the same.

Can one I knew so well be still?

A leaf must wither or unfurl.

But his strange fruit

was ripe when it was rotten

and we could not tell the difference,

and it was all the sweeter for it.

© 2015 Anna-Christina Betekhtin, All Rights Reserved.


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