The Common Good
March-April 2002

Seven Miles Outside of Jerusalem

by Todd Davis | March-April 2002

Of course it's not what I expected.

Of course it's not what I expected.
How do you prepare yourself
for resurrection?

In this body again, holes in my hands,
brow scratched and scabbing over,
feet still a bloody mess, I almost feel
at home. But this afternoon when
I show up near Emmaus and find
Cleopas with his friend, I can't stop
thinking about the tomb, the three
days of hell that death is. Some like
to use the word conquer, others
like to talk about being raised
incorruptible. It's really nothing
so grand: the way flesh smells
after it's been in the ground, the way
Lazarus stumbled around like a drunk
for weeks after I woke him, the way
people look at you in disbelief.

And my stomach. The entire time
I'm talking with Cleopas it won't stop
growling, and I can't concentrate
on what he's saying. Part of me wants
to tell him about what comes after, another
knows that I must be about my father's
business, scriptures and all. But I'm
hungrier than when I went without food
for forty days, and here it's only
been a few.

Bless him for inviting me to supper.
The bread broke unevenly, crumbled
in my mouth, its mealy taste the best
benediction to any day I could imagine
on this earth. Then, so tired, like when
you've been digging the better part
of a day and know that sleep will come
with the ease of a drawn curtain, that you
will dream about your hunger, about how
when you love something so much you long
to taste of it, place your lips around its soft
flesh, like broiled fish prepared by hands
of those who have only just begun
to believe.

Todd Davis teaches American literature, film, and nature writing at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.

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