Air – a poem by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.


They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, she said, 
and we don’t know where they have put him (John 19:2).

Her words cracked and we ran.  Peter, 
heavier, older, fell behind until my 
poundings alone surround me – the air, 
the air felt weighted, seemed to split 

split open like the Red Sea
I ran on hard sand, walls of water,
a corridor, air seemed to fall
like logs burning, but no fire, 
felt like the light of too many stars, but
still night, breath of incense bitter 
as myrrh, but honeyed, vibrating 
wings, uncanny, a roar, a door, 
awhirl, a dance, a night, a day, 
a pool – the air the air
I ran, ran – 

a rustle somewhere, my name whispered –  
a footfall.   I kept turning in the dim light – 
At last: the tomb.  I looked:  all air –
I saw, backed off:  fear.

Peter.  Here now, charging the invisible, 
panting, lunges into the tomb, like hunger.  

He stops, shocked, head cocked, listening, 
eyes wide, streaming.  He doesn’t breathe, 
slowly turns to me.
We know: lisp of tender leaves,  
Life hidden in the limpid dawn

Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun.  She was born in the United States and lived there until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England, where she now resides.  Her poems have appeared in The Christian Century, The Windhover, The Ekphrastic Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Catholic Poetry Room, and other venues, both online and print.  

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