Salome, you are his sister, they said
to me, the sweat dripping from their brows as they carried him
away, you must help us prepare the body to be
laid in the tomb.
And so I washed the blood from his hands
and feet until the water in my bowl was
the same color as the wine I drank the night
I was not married.
And I rubbed the sweet spices onto
his body, breathing in the rich heady smell
like I breathed in the milksweet sighs of
the baby I bore.
And I swaddled his cool flesh
in soft white linens, like I swaddled
my son before his skin, too,
turned to clay.
And I felt the cold rock he lay on, scuffed my knuckles
on its rough surface like I’d scraped
my pride when I asked my son’s father not to
leave me alone
And I watched them roll the heavy
stone in front of the brother I’d known
as little as the lover or the son, one
flesh forever cloven.
And when I found the tomb empty, saw the deep
furrow in the earth where the stone had been pushed aside,
I was not surprised to have once again loved a man and been
played for a fool.
—Kari Castor writes poetry, short stories, and comic books, and her work has appeared in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Polychrome Ink, and Crannóg. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two dogs, and a cat named after a space princess. Find her online at www.karicastor.com.