Carrying a clay jar of ointment,
she turned the last corner on the path.
The sun rose behind her, she paused.
The stone was rolled away.
There was an impulse to turn and run
Back to the men in charge.
But it was so quiet.
There was no rush, and nowhere to be.
The thrushes and nightingales slept.
Her constellation scattered,
She could follow the light into the cave.
It was relieving to see no body,
No blood stains or purgations
Tinged with yellow and green.
To not manage the swell of recognition
As the sun hit his hair.
She saw no ghost of the child
They might have had together.
She could relax, free of triangulation.
She did not hear his breathing,
His dark jokes, rambling grievances,
Quiet commands to pour wine.
The melancholic sermons and calls to mystic war,
Nor anything else it had been her role
To validate and soothe.
She followed the light deeper
To see more of nothing.
No silhouette of empire, religion, plague.
No scrolls or abaci.
She saw no men, nor women who reflect men.
No temple, or any need for memory beyond
This limestone of skeletons and shells.
When even the emptiness became empty,
She turned sunward, holding the jar.
Myrrh is gathered from wounding the stalk
Of a small thorny tree, then waiting
To harvest the ambered sap.
That’s a practical fact.
She could use the ointment herself.
To scent the moment of survivor’s guilt
As she walked away from his story
Towards a canceled schedule, different work
On this morning of the first day of a new week.