Elaine Wilburt

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Scenes From Easter in Germany

I.
Like the Israelites
through the Red Sea, we
raced north
on a thin ribbon
of autobahn
through walls
of flowers, golden
breakers fleeing
to either side
of us,
seeking the razor edge
of the blue horizon
of that cloudless spring.

II.
From the scrubby features in the drab bark
of the tree in the square, two knots
(the right eye larger, swollen as if
blackened in a fight) squinted,
unseeing, at us.

Frowsy down budded in tufts
on the tangle of branches
like mangy patches of hairs
sprouting after cancer,
and satin-tethered eggs swayed in arcs,
lustrous pendulums ticking,
“Time enough. Time enough.”

III.
In the sanctuary, pressing
foreign words and phrases into the familiar story,
I found Mary Magdalene
at the gaping tomb,
wailing,
grasping her sides,
failing to stanch
wave upon wave of sobs,
salty streaks carving
riverbeds on the maps of her cheeks.

A stench of third-day decay loitered
like retreating tide clutching the shore.

When she bent to look inside,
seated at the head and feet
of the emptiness
where his body
had been,
two angels who
once had probably cried,
“Peace to men on earth,”
now asked, “Woman,
why are you weeping?”

And the gardener asked her, too. Then
as Mary stared again at the tomb,
she heard Jesus call her name,

so afterward she would say,
“I have seen the Lord.”

IV.
Standing shoulder to shoulder,
we offered our hands
to one another, to all,
“Peace be with you.”

“And also with you.”


Needlework

With whirring wings
beaten from sight,
the ruby-throated
hummingbird
hovers, suspended,
between earth
and flight, its
hypodermic
beak and flicking
tongue drawing
a quick sample
of red buckeye
nectar, leaving
sticky pollen
behind.
How
does it feel
to stop between
two worlds
through force of will?
Waiting for the doctor’s
call.


On Purpose

It keeps the bottle’s contents at e-
quilibrium until release.
The wires are set and screwed down turn

upon turn; it will on its opening
reveal a new pressure-born crown
of scars to mark a spongy head

with four harsh, deep, unyielding wounds.
In just an instant, pop! The wine
will pour; the cork, be tossed away.


Elaine Wilburt graduated from Middlebury College and lives in Maryland with her husband and children. Her poems have appeared in The CressetGyroscope ReviewWales Haiku JournalOtata, and Bones among others; devotionals, in The Word in Season. Forthcoming poetry will appear in Bible AdvocateEdify Fiction, and The Avenue

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