MARY MAGDALENE, AT THE TOMB
The young man in the tomb looks the way he must have, you think—slender and olive-limbed, too old around the eyes but with a mouth shaped for smiling. Yeshua’s brother, without divinity to come and suck the marrow from his bones, to break him against humanity’s ungratefulness.
He is risen, the young man says, though you can barely hear him over Salome’s cries of astonishment, Mary mother of James’ fingers digging into your arm. But the young man’s mouth is unbroken, and his eyes linger on your face. He is not here, he is risen, his is risen.
You stumble into the morninglight trembling, To what? on your tongue like a burning coal.
In Matthew, they’ve recast the role, an angel whose countenance is lightning and says fear not as though it is enough stop other Miriam from screaming. But you are twenty—or fifteen, twenty-five, thirty, older, old enough to know what it is to keep demons in your skin, to watch your god’s wrists strung up by a windlass, and you did not come for angels. Where is he? you demand.
He goeth before you to galilee, the angel says, but you are already running, you are gone to seek the one they call God.
Luke forgets how you did the bedikah alone that night, walking through the darkened house of Andrew’s cousin with a candle and a feather. In the upper room, Miriam the Mother has finally fallen into fitful sleep, her rent grief finally given over to exhaustion. Many of the disciples linger In the kitchens or the yard, shame in their cowardice keeping them from meeting your gaze when you pass.
(This is your gift, to the church that will someday malign you—you know who was not there, who fled from the sight of the Master bleeding, struggling for breath, crying out in pain and despair—eloi eloi lama sabachthani, and they were not there, the devoted twelve, the blessed chosen. They had not wanted a God who could break.
You watch them turn their faces from you and you are glad of it.)
The next morning, Petros kindles the fire for you with the lulav that once lined the streets, hailing Yeshua’s coming. He stands with you as the chometz burns, says the biyur chametz because he is the closest you have to a head of the household now.
He weeps, after.
(Why do you look for the living among the dead? the men clad in lightning will ask, when you are on your knees and afraid. You do not have an answer for them, except perhaps hope.)
It takes until John for them to remember that you, too, wept.