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      After Elizabeth Jennings

When Lazarus walked from the grave,
he tottered like a child letting go of a table
heading into the open for the first time.

His muscles were weak. Due to being dead,
I suppose. He was pale and waxy as a grub,
another drained thing out of the heavy

darkness. The smell confirmed it. Scent
cannot lie, it seems, and though this had
been the object of his mother's prayers,

when she hugged him and let the focus
of his eyes settle upon her like melting ice,
there was no doubt that part of what her

convoluted expression was grappling with
was the smell of meat gone round the bend.
Later, when he had bathed and dressed

in a clean robe she thought she'd folded
for the last time, she could still smell it,
a slight rank sweetness, like an orchid

in its final days, feeding its bloom with
one white toe in the dark earth. Only
this was decay delayed. This was birth.

Michael Bazzett

Copper Nickel

Number 25 / Fall 2017

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