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
How I imagined god might be there, even for a second,
creating all the miracles of touch
before he pulled away.