At San Marco: Fra Angelico’s “Noli me tangere” / by Lily Greenberg

The whole garden is wrong.
How could the air bloom with rosemary and thyme
alongside death’s teem? Dried salt clings to my face.
I shift my knees in the soil, feet prickling and slow.

A gardener approaches—surely this man is the one
who dragged my beloved’s body out of his rest.
Why do you weep? “If you have carried him away,
tell me.” My words anticipate rebuke.

Mary he sighs in a voice full of wind.
I crawl forward, suddenly new to language.
“Rabbi?” my only word. How sweet to kiss his feet again,
to touch the soft robes and never loosen my grip.

But he steps back. Do not hold onto me
he says in a voice miles away.
Together we inhale the morning mist,
like breathing in a ghost.