… Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher) (John 20: 11-16). 

The following poem, modernizing the above scene, was published in Tin House’s current Rehab issue. It is by Marie Howe, whose collection of poems, Magdalene, was released earlier this year.

Magdalene: At the Grave

by Marie Howe

 

That long-gone year, that late summer afternoon

driving toward the cemetery

 

and when the rain started falling hard — and then harder

turning back toward home

 

and then — as if something were pulling me —

pulling into the driveway and back again toward the grave.

 

Ridiculous as it was to park and kneel where he’d been buried

— to kneel in the rain — I laughed out loud!

 

After a few minutes, I looked up and saw the other car idling

the driver’s window rolled down.

 

The tears I wept then were not tears of grief.

How many times must it happen before I believe?