War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

Lazarus (9)

But if they walk during the night they stumble, because the light is not in them
John 11:10

so Lazarus had his life split in two. before, was not quite warm. (though it had its moments). then after, was icy. frozen as a winter in the Afghan desert when a man doesn’t have proper gear. cannot wear wool or fleece because it’s too flammable.

unexpectedly cold. disbanded. deadly. loveless. after. was.

when he tried to edge forward, pick his way through the minefield of after, it was too dark. his legs entangled in wires. he fell. he fell and he fell. rage at everything filled him like lava. then cooled. leaving him stone.

then stone turned to glacier. the weirdness of war’s mixed metaphors, its upside-down alchemy.

cataclysm crept stealthily. he could barely breathe. his heart cleaved. it was all mixed up in his head. was he here or there. or everywhere all at once? (and he was).

then tiny flicker. semaphore blinked him to the safe house. her hand, her voice, let me carry the ruck awhile Lazarus. she brought him a glass of clean water. drew him a hot, bubbly bath. scrubbed his back. put him to bed. lay against him. put her warm feet on his cold. the two of them fit. she as hot as he cold. the temperature evened.

there are no miracles in this story. no beginning or end. but it is the making of him. the making of him by first unmaking. he held it all. together. with paracord and sheer will. with her. he can let it all go.


1 Comment (Closed)

Alex VanderWoude

That’s what they do in basic training too: first they unmake you and then they rebuild you as a soldier. The reversal of this process is usually not considered part of the military’s job. I wonder if it should be.

Apr 13 2011 · 13:08

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled Lazarus (9). It was posted here on April 19, 2011.

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