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Teen Scribes...
Linens
By Sam Armstrong 
February 8, 2012 

Author: “I tried to put a more human, modern twist on old history.” 

Mary died in the month of March, and John took her body and wrapped parts of her arms in the swaddling clothes she’d saved in a wooden box in the second drawer of the maple dresser in her bedroom. They were old and dusty, but John knew how much they meant to her, and besides, it was what Joseph would have wanted. Jesus couldn’t believe she’d kept them, but he’d been polite when his younger brother gingerly raised them out of the box and the stench positively filled the also decaying room. He laughed and said he’d smelled worse. 

So Mary’s body was carefully wrapped in lavender sheets and linens, laid into a personal coffin (Jesus was still trying to ignore the splinters it had given him yesterday) and placed below the dying wheatgrass in the backyard, next to Joseph’s grave. The sunset bronzed the fields and houses all around. Jesus spilled several tears on the ground next to his feet, because his head was bowed because he could feel this death way down deep in his sienna marrow. Marvel at the beloved. Make your mark. Make merry. While inside, the massacre of your internal organs threaten to burst all over the cedar-wood and your lip absolutely cannot take any more biting, so you stare off into liminality but the dog barking four blocks over refocuses your eyes to imprints your feet are making in the backyard. 

Jesus’ sister stepped forward and gave some words about how Mary taught her how to sew, taught her how to push Joseph’s buttons when she really wanted to, taught her how to ride her bike and still keep her hair in stable shape. Jesus and his brother shared a knowing smirk, remembering the countless times she’d pranced in flip flops through the screen door into the kitchen, with her father’s proud nose and her own insecure eyes, silently flaunting 10-year old bobby pins with a style that, for a second, made the ka of the old kitchen light shine just a little brighter. The night Mary died she’d been sitting alone in her overstuffed comforter, lost somewhere near the hole in the wall where her blood and water hand had broken through the plaster, because no mother should have to bury her own son.

 


 
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