Cave Canem: A Special Section
i rise from stiffening into a pin of light and a voice calling “Lazarus, this way” and i walk or rather swim in a river of sound toward what seems to be forever i am almost almost there when i hear behind me “Lazarus, come forth” and i find myself swiveling in the light for this is the miracle Mary Martha, at my head and at my feet singing my name is the same voice
i am not the same man borne into the crypt.
as ones return from otherwhere altered by what they have seen,
so have i been forever.
lazarus. lazarus is dead.
what entered the light was one man what walked out is another. [End Page 981]
on the third day i remember what i was moving from what i was moving toward
light again and i could feel the seeds turning in the grass mary martha i could feel the world
now i sit here on a crevice in this rock stared at answering questions
sisters stand away from the door to my grave the only peace i know
Lucille Clifton, Poet Laureate of the State of Maryland (1975–85), has received many fellowships and awards for her poetry collections and children’s books, including the Shelley Memorial Prize, a Charity Randall Citation, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a selection as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library, a Lannan Achievement Award in Poetry, and the 1999 Lila Wallace-Readers’ Digest Writers’ Award. She serves on the board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets and was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts. Her most recent book, The Terrible Stories, was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Lucille Clifton is featured in Callaloo (22.1 [Winter 1999]).