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  • Shaun McMichael

The Morning After the Master's Death


poem by Shaun McMichael photograph, "Rays of Hope," by Clarissa Cervantes


Beneath the beams of someone’s house,

we wondered what next while we sat

on a dirt floor. The bread had crusted,

the living water drained, and our mouths desert-dry.

Peter slept like the dead. John murmured

about graves opening their mouths

and their captives singing. We started writing

to retrace our steps. How many had He fed

with how many fish? How many days rotted

the dead man’s flesh? Night came and we knew

that we knew nothing, having walked the Way asleep.

I counted the change remaining between us,

my fingers’ quickness awakening to their former

trade from before He made a new way for me

with his feet. With a millstone standing in that Way,

I pocketed Judas’ share with my own.

Peter woke up loud and hungry as the sea.

Said we should go fish. Their old professions

called to them too, louder than John’s singing graves.

I helped them lash the rudder,

the coins laughing in my robe.

Peter steered Thomas out of the way

and pushed John into his place at the prow

to search the waves for footprints.


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Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin
Apr 10, 2023

Oh, Shaun! This is a wonderful poem -- from the narrator's voice to the biblical imagery to the tone of trepidation ("mouths desert-dry"; we "walked the Way asleep"; searching "the waves for footprints." Brilliant!

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