Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sheol Catherine Zickgraf

Sheol
For the Rich Man’s raw throat,
I swallow waterfalls from the faucet until I’m satisfied.
Daddy tells bedtime stories
to warn me of the silver fire
writhing the unfaithful, recounting
how the Rich Man’s echo begged
 Abraham for a drip on the tip of his finger—
for I am in agony in this fire.
But the Father of Nations
denied that small relief, holding his own children to his
chest in death’s cool twilight across the canyon from the
unholy.

My child, he called out, your life was good, so
you will suffer dead.

Sheol was eternity’s waiting room,
says Daddy.

There, all souls waited for the
Resurrection
separated from their corpses,
 frozen motionless in graves.
When Christ arose,
Abraham’s offspring took their seats
at Heaven’s gold table.

 Then Sheol’s torched cage of the
hated changed to flames.
Unchosen souls awoke in their
bodies.

They opened their eyes, exhausted, but couldn’t
lie on the burning ground.

For the Rich Man’s charred tongue, I drink:
pink night gowned next to the bathroom’s moon-soaked
curtains.

I drink because the punished cannot.
I can still gulp streams from faucet to palms to lips, gulp life from
the plumbing—though
 I wonder in bed under my eyelids
if I too could be quick to slip, whisked down to the pit of
blistered souls.

Catherine Zickgraf

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