The Daughter of Jairus

And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing
she was dead. But He took her by the hand,
and called out, “Maid, arise!”
Luke 8:53-54

Since that time He touched me,
the fever has not left,
and my eyes are sparks in stubble.

I had my father turn away
all the meddlers and matchmakers —
and the men with coins in their belts.

A shame to my mother
to hear the snickering in the synagogue–
her daughter unmarried at eighteen.

I slipped away to the festival
of New Moon to wander
among the torches and timbrels.

In that glare of fire,
and clamor of pipes
and bright tambourines,

body to body pressed
against absence,
against death.

But by the black river,
reeds whispered,
rushes whispered.

And my breath broke
and my heart beat
like rain on stone

as the new goddess rose–
a shining sickle
in the drumming dark.

Dan MacIsaac