• Ancient Paths

Myrrh and Aloe



by L. E. Guidici


The two of them How many times had they done this? How many? One more broken Body Broken and bloody and dead. Some spices, a linen winding They had done this So many times Before. Acting in faith Moving in futility Centuries of tombs carved in rock Mountains of myrrh, mountains of aloe.

Now by the handfuls To cover the inevitable stench Soon filling this newly carved cave.

They were both old Experienced As they wrapped this body Spreading the spices Their own bones would one day Be stripped of flesh Gathered Placed with the bones of their fathers Centuries of bones bundled and stacked Together testifying that Death Sitting Triumphant On Every Tomb's Door Stone Was the only answer This life ever yielded.

Carefully they worked More spices, more windings of linen.

No extravagance of perfume No amount of care Could bind Their broken hearts. A useless gesture Arranging the linen with such care Done with tired hands Aching hearts That held this head one long last time. Death cared not How tenderly placed were those strips of linen

Even so they hurried They must hurry Sabbath The sun, nearing the horizon.

Quick Grab the lamp One last look 2 old men struggling to roll a stone door across its hole. All was finished.

They walked into town In a haze of Myrrh and aloe Clinging to their robes, Their hands, Their beards This has always been a messy task.

The fragrance of Death's exultant victory.

The burden of the living has always been To find an answer, If an answer can be found To Death's gleeful laugh.

It was almost dark, Sabbath Joseph and Nicodemus stopped They must go their own way Each alone Their words of parting Whispered The weight of centuries Bearing down Would not allow more.