Caroline Lemak Brickman

Magdalene (putting the body given her to use)

ISSUE 53 | NOISE | JUN 2015

I. Magdalene to Christ.

Ten commandments between us:
the fever of ten bonfires.
One’s own blood recoils.
You be my other blood.

In the times of the gospel
I’d have been one of those…
(The blood of another is the most desired
and the most other of all!)

I’d have – with all my infirmities –
been captivated, would have lain myself to you, how bright
your pelt! Would have hidden in this demon’s flaxen dross,
would have poured these oils

onto your feet (I would), and beneath your feet (I would),
and just so, into the sands…
Your passion sold to merchants,
spat out everywhere – o flow!

Like the froth on my lips and the scum
after sinter and then all our
blisses… so into my hair I’ll wind
your feet, as if into furs.

Like cloth beneath your feet
I’ll lay myself… Aren’t you that man (that woman!),
the one who implored the beast with curls aflame:
Rise, sister!



The colors of a hide tanned at three times
its cost, the sweat of the passion,
tears and hair a soaked sheer
rush, and he –

fastening the red dry loam
with one gracious eye:
Magdalene! Magdalene!
Don’t give it up like that!


III. Christ to Magdalene.

About the paths you took – well, I won’t even try,
my darling! For now it’s all come true.
I was barefoot, and you shod me
in storms of hair –
and of – tears.

I won’t ask you at what price
these oils were bought.
I was naked, and with the wave
of your body – like a wall
you enclosed me.

Your nakedness I’ll touch with fingers
stiller than waters and lower than grasses.
I was erect, and you prostrate
taught me to bend, tender.

O dig me a hole in your hair,
swaddle me without flax.
Myrrh-bearer! What do I need with myrrh?
You washed round me
like a wave.

                               Marina Tsvetaeva 1923