After the Lord’s Supper

by Claudia Lehman

The towels lie empty as the grave clothes,
the napkins are laid by themselves
among dried crumbs on the altar.

The men stand serene in black on Sunday,
wearing holiness like a garment, but I,
on a Wednesday afternoon,
come to the garden when the Lord has gone.

I brush the crumbs to the floor for the mice,
lock the door, carry the laundry home.
I pour bleach into the washing machine,
spread butter on the bread of paradise
for the baby. The while, I think

of some woman at dawn, holidays and men passed by,
cleaning an upper room, gathering the fragments
for her child, taking up the stained Grail
with unhesitating hands.

Did she feel, as I, the silence suddenly deepen?
Did she look up through the window,
and glimpse, beyond rooftops in a distant garden,

a light flash out like a tongue of flame?

Claudia Lehman lives in Păltiniş, Romania, with her favorite poet, Kyle, and their daughters, Josephine, Lucia, and Margaretha. She loves teaching, old books, Earl Grey tea, wildflowers, and her comfort zone.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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