Easter’s First Witness by Janet Tharpe

No hope remained

when his battered body

entered my granite womb.

I wanted to weep

when his last friends

laid  his lifeless form

within me upon a carved

slab of rock as if on a lap.

Then they left him

tucked in safely

behind a boulder.


Two days passed and

He remained stiff and cold.

Still I cradled his flesh

with fierce tenderness

like a mother would hold

her newborn child.

But on the third day

I could hold him no longer.

His heart began to warm,

Then it began to beat

His chest rose and fell

as He began to draw breath.

Wrapped in burial linens

Within my quiet darkness

He labored and rested,

labored and rested

like a butterfly shedding

its cramped cocoon.

When at last he stood

I trembled

dislodging the rock

that sealed the doorway

and He stepped out

into the garden, unbound,

unhindered,  forever.