by Claudia Lehman

Does it hurt to be raised from the dead,
I asked him,
is it like frostbitten fingers
plunged into water,
like the red spike of a released muscle,
like the sting of light
on dark-dilated, wide-blind eyes?
How long does it hurt?
Does it feel like snapping yourself
back into an iron box—
does it slowly rub you raw, at first,
on tender places?

Tell me, I said,
for if I am to follow you,
I like to be prepared.
I could die easier, I think,
if I knew what would be coming—
die with all my body delicately clenched
around a clear expectation.

I would know it when it came, then,
I’d be sure to smile at it,
instead of screaming.
You don’t have to make it easier—
I do want it, you know,
just tell me, though,
does it hurt to be raised from the dead?

Why can’t you stop digging in the dirt
long enough to look at me?
Why don’t you answer?

Why are you smiling?

Claudia Lehman lives in Păltiniş, Romania, with her favorite poet, Kyle, and their daughter Josephine. She loves teaching, old books, Earl Grey tea, wildflowers, and her comfort zone.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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