The Shunamite

Elisha and the Son of the Shunammite Woman, by
Jan Sluyters

Two prophets

Two widows

Two boys who died

Two men of God, spread cruciform upon the dead – hand to hand, eye to eye, mouth on mouth

Breathing back the breath of life

To bring hope back from the dead.

Two desperate women, standing aside, praying for a miracle

What does it mean? 

That it was repeated, twice in a row

Elijah and Elisha

I can see his sensitive hand, still

The curious Asian curve of thumb

I can feel its heavy, warm weight in my own

I’d never held his hands

(Of course I’d never held his hands)

I think about how stark it is to die (and we are always dying)

Boundaries blur and are erased

Frailty exposed to the outside world – the mess too big to contain

We rubbed his twitching feet, we held his warm, dead hands, we kissed his distended head, we whispered in his ear

All the things we wish we would have said when he could hear us

(you are my best friend, too)

Would he have wanted it, then?

Did it matter?

In the end, I felt Jesus spread himself on top of Ray like a prophet 

I whispered it in his ear

Jesus is here. He is right on top of you. Can you feel him breathing your breath?

So near. (too near?)

In the end, we cannot keep our selves from him

He is near. 

Eye to eye, hand to hand, mouth on mouth

Breathing in death, breathing out life

In the end, even our deaths are his

What does it mean?

In our most frail. When bodies uncoil.

When we are unable to contain the blood, the piss, the spit, and the shit

He is most near. 

To bring back hope from the dead.

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