I sucked air through dusty lungs, jaw
hanging open as in an endless scream.
Nerves wakened all fire and raw
as blood squeezed through collapsed veins.

I lurched, loose muscles sliding along
parched bone – tendons tightening in
sudden jolts. I had been alone.
Now I, now…oh, where had I been?

Dark solitude of wakeless sleep,
lying with the worms that over time
undid me: unwound each fleshly string
that I had meant to bind over a lifetime.

We are all undone, our faces rotted
to the skull. Time has no sympathy.
Nor do we: so quick to forget the dead
though we all die, and slowly.

I staggered to my feet, still harbored
by the earth that had swallowed me.
Still bound by a ragged shroud: forward,
onward, out of the watching dark –

Into warm light on sore and squinting eyes,
eyes that saw the tear-stained cheeks of
the Son of Man, who looked at me and sighed:
“Oh Lazarus, I forget no one.”

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