Some, a few, are born to command.
I was not. And that day when
he insisted we take him to the Healer,
we obeyed like school children.
Part of it was pity. Ever since his fall
had left him dead neck down,
he'd seemed to shrink, mind and body
both. Always before, he captained
us: let's do this, do that,
the four of us, trailing in his wake,
glad to follow. But dead-limbed,
he turned in on himself. We'd come
to visit, he'd barely say a word.
That changed. News had spread
of lepers cleansed, demons rooted out.
He summoned us, his eyes afire
as before, his voice a clarion:
Take Me to Him! We hoisted him,
his sturdy mat resting on our
shoulders. One of us, I can't
remember who, said: The roof?
We laughed. Ridiculous. Impossible.
Let's Go he said. We stared at him.
We thought he'd joined the joke.
His face was set in stone.
Somehow, God knows how, we got him up.
Looking down, we saw and heard it all.
Walking with him home, we wondered
why we would not let us help. The mat,
we knew well enough, was heavy.
I Want to Carry It Myself, he said.