Communion

In the red hymnal, angled sideways on the stacking grey chair,
There were crumbs from last week’s communion.
I look at them.
I think they are the leftovers that filled twelve disciple’s baskets,
Wandered down from Galilee to this small Washington town.
This is the heavenmade bread that will last forever,
Handed down in the hymnal from the greying to the young,
And when we open to page 204,
There is the life-bread of our fathers,
Brown and crusty.
I plant another crumb-crop.

The Thnak: A Tribute

This prefaces a short sketch about a new creature my room-mate and I thought up. It’s based off this short story: I always misspell the word “thanks” as “thnaks,” so I began wondering what a thnak would look like (on the same principle as the alothttp://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html). I said to him, “well, it’s not a snack with a lisp,” and he said, “No, what if it is, like a little creature that everything snacks on,” and things kind of got hilarious from there. This little creature is irresistibly delicious, and is thus frightened of pretty much the whole world. Here’s the poem I wrote to honor the thnak.

Of all of God’s creatures, I pity the thnak:
He’s terrified all of the time.
For in all of the food-chains, he’s always the snack,
And tastes so delicious with lime.

He’s never about when a mealtime comes,
For he’s on every menu there is,
On the run – there he goes! with his heart in his toes,
With a whoosh and shriek and a whiz.

The taste of a thnak I could never turn down,
So delicious and charmingly light,
I apologize, thnaks, but we must face the facts:
You’re delicious. Pardon me. *Bite*

Eater

Friends: let me show you something about the way the world works. We get grossed out at something that eats death. Bacteria putrefying that corpse. Mold feeding on the dead fruit. But in reality, none of us are any different. We all feed off dead things. Every single day of your life, you were either eating something dead, or you were dead. Even if you’re fasting, you’re still eating yourself. We always eat, and whatever we eat is dead. Something else always has to die for us to live. This is why the table is one of the centers of the home. We gather around it for a spiritual realization of a physical need: we are all dying, and we stave that off three times a day together. That kind of thing bonds people.

But let me show you something else about the way the world works. There is one food that isn’t dead. There is one table where death is staved off forever with a single mouthful. There is one cup where the desert of our thirst is swamped with the kind of water that turns into wine. One washing where we are cleansed from the filth of our previous meals of death. Here we eat Christ, and here we eat a food that won’t stay dead. Here we eat a food that turns us into itself. We are what we eat, and when we ate dead things, we were dead. Now we eat a living thing, and none of us will ever die again.

And though we partake of him, Christ was the one meal that Death could not digest. Death gnawed on the gristle a bit, stabbed at him with a fork that pierced him with its four tines, and swallowed. As a teacher of mine said, “If you eat a hero, be sure to chew him up first, and don’t just send him down directly.” Death, that ancient emptiness, was killed from the inside out, filled. Death’s eyes were bigger than its stomach, and Death, in eating the meal that satisfies all and forever, lost his appetite. He can no longer devour us, the solid, the filled, the living.

Eat up.

 

And Happy Easter.

Hands

The night was old, and the pizza place was calling us. Working with drywall for a whole day had sanded us down to dusty, sagging remnants of blue-collar respectability. Flat greasy food was singing to us like a beautiful yellow siren of arterial blockage, and our work-weary minds felt no inclination to resist. So the empty streets and dark neon signs herded us like a series of negative sheepdogs, until we gave a cheer when we saw the sign glowing several streets over, and visions of cheese Frisbees soared through our heads.

The man standing behind the counter took our eager orders with equanimity. Apparently he saw this sort of thing a lot. He grabbed a dough globe and began to stretch and pound it out flatter, disappointing all sorts of aspiring bacterial Magellae. Then the newly flattened planet began to swirl through the pizza place sky, tossing off his spinning fingers, elegantly orbiting through the flour-dusted air. Then I noticed his hands.

They were twisted and malformed. Some birth defect had left him with fewer fingers than most, and less grace than most.

But despite the ugliness in his hands, the things they could do were beautiful. The dough touched them lightly, then leapt up to the ceiling again, dancing under his touch.

I asked him how long he had been throwing pizza dough for. He said he had been there seven years. “How long to get that good?” I asked. Tens of thousands of throws, he said.

There was a reason he wasn’t on day shift. Some people wouldn’t have wanted to eat pizza they had seen being tossed by those hands. Some people are morons.

I enjoyed that pizza more than many things I have eaten. I knew that it had been made beautifully, made by a man whose hands transcended their own fallenness.

Love bestows loveliness.

The crookedest hands made the best pizza.