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Rags: A reimaging of the elder brother and the prodigal son July 20, 2022

Posted by Pete B in poems and stories.
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not quite the original story. Sometimes we struggle with how much the father forgives other people. Sometimes we struggle to accept that we have been both forgiven and restored.

Clothes in rags.
Life in rags.
Covered in filth.
Hair matted with blood.
Flies buzzing around an open wound.

At first I hardly knew him.

And then I denied him.

The shame he brought upon me
and upon our Father

How could he allow himself to sink so low?
How could he have the gall to return like that?

My Father saw him,
had been watching and waiting for his return all those years,
and he ran out to meet him?
to meet this,
this ungrateful,
irresponsible,
parody of a son,
my brother.

My brother no more!

My father ran out and embraced him,
threw his coat around him,
brought him back into my home,
he wanted to throw a party!

I wanted to throw up!

I left.

I was so angry.
So jealous.
Stupid really. I had it all.

I saw my brother later.
They’d cleaned him up cut his hair dressed a few of the more virulent sores and given him some fine clothes to wear.

I remembered how thin he looked when I first saw him.
Though it still showed in his face he didn’t look so thin in the body,

and then I noticed

– beneath the fine robes
he’d put his old rags back on again.


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