by Phillip Watts Brown

Drape the table with a white sheet
as if making a bed, straighten the hem.

Ease the bread from its plastic sleeve,
placing in each tray a soft slice.

Christ’s body — yes, only bread, but still
this idea of a man in your hands.

During the service older boys break
then bless the bread, a lesson

in how men handle one another.
They bow their heads after it’s done.

When you take the sacrament,
let it rest on your tongue like a silence.

Instead of Jesus, you contemplate
those boys, their smooth jawlines

resurrecting inside you a longing
you’re afraid they’d crucify you for.

Some future Sunday, you will know.
You will touch the warm bread

of another man, passing yourselves
back and forth beneath the sheets.

Bowing with desire as with reverence
you bless each other’s bodies,

seeing how they’ve already been broken
in the name of God.

Photo credit: David Beale