"The Friends"
9" x 9"

Mark 2: 1-12 "... When Jesus saw their faith ..."

The Hole

Your friends were the first to mention it,
as they crowded around your mat.
A new teacher, a healer.
The blind saw, the lame walked.

You had long ago abandoned hope.
Hope did not get you out of bed in the morning,
bathe you, dress you, feed you.
You had consigned hope to a windowless room
that you had long ago taken to locking
so you could get on with the life you had left.

You had stopped trying to explain to your friends
why this constant search for a cure
grew tiresome.
So you didn't argue with their plans
when they picked you up
and carried you over rutted roads to the house
where he was speaking
(though you were a bit relieved
when the crowd made it so they could not get close).
"Nice try" you said.
"Guess we may as well go home"
you said.

Instead, they left you in the shade
under a tree and when they came back,
all excited and pleased with themselves,
they didn't hear your protests
as they carried you to the roof
and lowered you, muttering and cursing,
through the hole
into the coolness of the room.

He looked at the loose dirt on the floor.
He looked at you and then up
at the faces of your four friends
peering through the hole.
A deep laugh broke through his lips
and the whole room applauded.

Then he grew quiet and a wave
of silence spread over the crowd.
He knelt, looked at you,
not hurrying his gaze
over your twisted body,
finally meeting your eyes,
reaching deep inside of you,
unlocking that room.
"Son," he said, "your sins are forgiven."
and then, "Take up your mat and go home."

So you did.
Walked through that silent crowd,
out of the door to the road that led back
to a life that was no longer yours.

Your friends caught up with you
on the road, quiet now,
each of you trying to fathom
what had happened and
what would happen now.

S.Z. Richardson 2/03

Regent Show - Windows

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