In Stopping: A Poem

In Stopping

by Joel E. Jacobson

“When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.” Leviticus 15:25

“She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” Luke 8:44

“While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’ Luke 8:49

In stopping to ask,
“Who touched me?”
a woman is healed,
a girl dies–
and both had faith.
I would easily
rush to the street
and beg for Jesus
to heal my dying child;
I would slice
through the crowd
just to brush up
against his cloak
and be okay
getting struck
by lightning
because either way
the bleeding stops.
But my prayers
would have ceased
years and years ago,
died with the hearts of men
who made sure to mention
all that was unclean,
all that was me.

In the face of laughter
Jesus heals the dead
and bleeding, though
I’ve only seen them
die. Determined
to win out
and be healed–
I’ve seen the faithful
bleed–embalmed
and buried with the rest.

Me of little faith,
stuck in the middle
of the story,
the middle of the crowd
pressing in
on a busy Jesus.

___

“In Stopping” is part 9 of the Storytellers project.