Called Out – a poem by Larry Pike

Called Out
for Jeff Bruce
 
Really, I was pretty much settled in.
If Jesus had gotten here a day later 
I might just have said, "No, thanks,
I'm good." That could have raised a stink,
 
but Martha would have shut up
for once, seen things someone else's way.
It's a lot of pressure, coming back—
tourists always staring; paparazzi
 
dogging my dusty walk to town; my favorite
bar a drag because on the next stool
there’s some local toad who believes
he can be the one to put me down for good.
 
What can I say that doesn't sound
ungrateful? Not that I ever wanted to leave,
but neither did I expect a mulligan, 
another chance to repair something
 
I didn't know I'd ruined, one more chance
to mend what had seemed unmarked
a year ago, last month, only days earlier.
It was quiet behind the stone. Soon, I'm afraid,
 
Mary may find me wandering, wary of my place
on this earth. She'll run to tell what she’s seen,
smudges where I wiped my eyes with dirty hands,
and this is the word that will get around:
 
Lazarus wept.

Larry Pike’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications and is forthcoming in several. His poem “Burned” appeared in Amethyst Review in January 2018, and it will be included in the anthology Without a Doubt: poems illuminating faith to be published by the New York Quarterly Foundation in August. His collection Even in the Slums of Providence will be published by Finishing Line Press in October. He lives in Glasgow, Kentucky.

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