I am Lazarus By Christina Dalcher
May 9, 2016 Comments Off on I am Lazarus By Christina Dalcher
We are born of woman; I am born of you.
I am suppressed, ill-formed, Nature’s cruel trick. With three limbs to your four, I am greater than appendage, less than man. My grotesqueness emerges from your loins, miniature replicas of your head, arms, and sinister leg, yet my manhood remains imprisoned. With webbed hands, I crawl and clamber, struggling to become more than a parasitic protrusion.
I am a failure, a half-born.
You are Lazarus; I am Other.
In an old church, they name me for a headless saint, but I am unforgiving of the sin that created me. While you wail at the affusion of oils, I hang from your belly, screaming silent objections at Nature’s unholiness. I am the secondary, the half-life no one speaks for. Priests mutter meaningless Latin at my upside-down face.
They do this out of custom, for I am nothing.
You speak for me because I am dumb. But I am not deaf.
I listen as you learn, my eyes closed in the semi-sleep of semi-being. I hear you at supper, fattening us on meat while I sputter under the table. Girlish giggles reach my ears when you carry me, hidden, through town. You grow clever and strong; I remain stunted in mind and body.
I am your unwanted, ever-present, brother-child.
You wish me away while you sire a son. I cannot leave.
I lie between sweat-beaded breasts, stomachs, groins, forced to listen to marital pleasures without feeling them. Condemned to wait out the months as you watch the child swell inside your wife. Our wife.
I am your first-born, yet you pay me no heed.
You carry me to kings, dangling me before them in exchange for gold. I am the showpiece, the silent partner in your Continental success.
I am Strasbourg’s omphalopage in Strasbourg, London’s child-parasite, Vienna’s Unmensch. I am the frightening freak of Nature to many, the glorious gift of God to few.
When you wish me gone, you cover me with cloth, suffocating me on your strolls through Columbus’ city. You keep me unseen, yet I am why kings see you.
Without me, you are nothing.
You are no more my brother.
As you sleep, I reach with three-fingered hands to the woman beside us. She goes easily, taking the child inside her to the dark place. You protest with soft words when you feel my hands at your throat, smothering you as you have smothered me. Your last breath flutters in the cavity where the rest of me has lived for thirty years. I suck the breath in, eat away at the flesh that binds us, and pull withered, atrophied parts from the depths of you. I am complete; you depart life with a hole in your side where I once was.
My birth accomplished, I live—if only for moments.
You are not Lazarus. I am Lazarus.
I am the one who rises from the dead.
© 2016 Christina Dalcher
Christina Dalcher was born when Sinclair, Steinbeck, and Kerouac still walked the earth. She drinks Glenmorangie neat — just like that highlander dude.