before ezekiel speaks

by Jeff Rainwater, 27 March 2017, Denver, CO

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. -Ezekiel 37:1

How did the owners
of these bones die?
Should not that
have been asked?
That daughter’s femur,
This son’s metatarsal,
How came they to this
bitter end?
These bones, bereft
of life, still hold
a story.

Speak, O Bones!

Was it some great
Armageddon battle
fought valiantly against
enemy greater than you?
Was it God?…tired of
the stubbornness
and grumbling and
back-biting injustice?
(Not a very just
solution,
even for God,
if you ask me.)

Perhaps you simply
withered away from lack
of essentials holding
death at bay —
clean water, ample food,
shelter safe and secure.
Maybe the fatal loss
was deeper yet.
Compassion this
tibia lying here
required, as much as
sinew and skin.

Speak, O Bones,
before Ezekiel opens
his mouth!
Share your lessons,
for a biting wind I feel
in my country and
among my kin —
of a very different sort
than what breathed
into you Life
again.

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