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  • J. Randall Ory

43 - You Will Also Rise

A Poem by J. Randall Ory

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You did not come for me.


I waited by your closed door with open arms and steady heart. I sat on the stoop day after day; hoping, waiting, looking, listening for the sound of your footsteps - waiting for a sign. My heart began to falter. I felt alone. Still, I awaited your presence. But you never came.


You did not cry for me.


I died on your door step. I died a thousand deaths. I languished in anguish and tears. I hid my face in pain. I hid my face and wept. I saw your face as you passed by, in and out, on your way to other places and back. Your face was smooth, calm, placid, still and dark like the ocean at dawn. Your face seemed almost kind, frozen in a thin smile. Your face seemed almost cruel, unable to even crack a frown. You stepped over me, time and time again. You never even flinched.


You did not burn for me.


You talked about the passion of your calling. You spoke so many words about love, and hate, and everything in between. But you sat there stone cold and calculated, every word memorized and planned. Every move seemed to be rehearsed. Every song so well performed. And I sat there burning in my desire, aflame and flaming out. And you saw it as impropriety and unwanted heat. The light repulsed you, and you drew back, your cold hand covering your face. And I did not burn out, but you must have a long time ago.


You did not beg for me.


You took my alms, my meager offering, but missed the treasure of my tears, and the wisdom of my great longing. You only wanted what was in my pockets, not what was in my heart and mind. You built an alter with the gold of so many souls, all begging for the crumbs from your table, while you sat and ate your feast. Alone you ate, while all the hungry watched with great longing. Was it good for you? You did not even smile. It was taken as your due, the price of silver paid for a cold kiss.


You did not die for me.


You asked me to bleed. You pointed to a wooden cross, hung so still and quiet on the wall. You talked so much about blood, and yet never did a drop fall from you. You held the razor, I held out my hand, I thought this once you would embrace me. It was the only time you came near. I tasted the stale cracker and sugary juice. It was not enough. It was like a handshake between lovers. I wanted so much, you gave so little. Why am I still here?


You did not rise for me.


I’m standing at the door step, the stones feel cold beneath my feet. The glass stained with so much blood. You cut so deep, word after word. My hands and feet are bleeding. I’m wondering, should I leave. How much longer should I wait. Will you ever come? Will you ever cry? Is there any spark left to tender the old fire? Do you even want me here? Was it ever about anyone but you? You must be sleeping now. Were you ever awake?

The door remains locked, the stone still in place. But I find strange solace with the other beggars at your door. For them I have come, for them I have cried, for them I burned and begged and died. For them I still rise. But you don’t seem to notice, your pockets lined with gold. All you seem to care about is locked inside with you. For you, I could not roll away the stone. But for these, the tossed out and dying, for these I will stay. The lost, lonely, tired, poor, unwanted souls you did not welcome in. I will wait for these. I will be with these. I will welcome them into paradise. And when you come, I will welcome you too. Perhaps then you will weep, and burn, and beg, and die for all that you left outside your door, and all the lowly souls you would not lift up.


And then, finally at the end,


you will also rise.

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