Manna

‘I can never get used to taking the host in my own hands                
I still stand there like a fool with my tongue out’
The secret not in the flesh
but in the water
which must be chilled
or the body of Christ will curdle
before it is even made
therefore the bucket of galvanised
water must be left out overnight

who knows what it will catch?
possum scats perhaps
the piss of prowl cats
the saliva of a child
each God-made and dangerous
to a solemn dough
rolled and thinned to breaking

as it sometimes does, enough to taste
of special treat, like licking the bowl
while knowing the altar bread
will become God once it is blessed

until then save my mouth from blasphemy
while it crams itself with broken bits―
sweet melt, my only fear is in being
caught: when I become adult how is it
that pleasure will have bred such guilt?

Patricia Sykes

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