sacrament – SP Mulroy

    Here’s the thing about a bunch of teenagers
praying in the basement of a church:


more than the watered-down grape juice fanned out
    like a peacock’s tail against my tongue,


more than the torn feathers of a dinner roll passed solemnly
    from faithful hand to faithful hand,


I take each of their lives into myself,
    so deeply they can never be unswallowed.


Now, as I lie naked
    with my lover in the bed of our hotel room,
soaking the stale corners of our bread in 4 dollar merlot—
    they are here. They’re watching.


Erin with the port wine stain,
    teary-eyed and asking,         Do you think in heaven
                           we will recognize our friends?


Bad-teeth bully Curtis with the untrimmed beard
    who gathers me to his beginnings of a beer gut saying,
                Oh, I’ve done you so much wrong.


Tonight I hold my lover’s bird-thin body underneath the sheets, and I remember
            Nathan, whom I loved. How frail he seemed
        inside his night blue t-shirt.
How surprised I was to be


allowed to run my palms against the bones of his most sacred back
    as we embraced each other in Christ’s love
after Communion.


How I imagined god might be there, even for a second,
creating all the miracles of touch


    before he pulled away.