The Garment

“Then Jesus called in a loud voice. He said, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of linen. A cloth was around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the clothes he was buried in and let him go.’” John 11: 43-44

They keep pulling fabrications from my dead mouth—assumptions, lies. While my murderer gets the benefit of the doubt, they cloak me in criminality and guilt. When I was just a young boy, Mama warned me. Daddy, too. Still they raised me up: Go for what you want, Baby. And so I did, believing the Suspect Garment was one I would one day shed. If not on the football field (where they seemed to embrace me), then in college, or as CEO of some company whose products people couldn’t live without. When he, it, you followed me, I took comfort in my hoodie, pulled it close around me, heard my mother whispering sweet nothings, my father telling me to be a man, my girlfriend urging me to run. I thought my hood could erase me from your burning eyes, your heavy breath bearing down on me with hellfire and brimstone. I believed it would shade you from whatever is in me that makes you hate me.

Some lessons you don’t learn until you are dying.

Some truths are just that damning.

Now, cloaked in Death’s stench, I am still wrapped in the clothes you gave me.


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