My eyes follow the bread.
The soft disc of flour and water
we carried with us to this place—

A pathetic trickle of the Jordan,
food wrappers and scraps of plastic
mix with dirt and water.

Why here, now, with this bread?

We draw together.
I stand to the right of the celebrant
to receive the first unspoiled taste
but the bread passes another way

around the circle, hand to hand—
those hands!
awash in unseen contagion,
polluted hands, like these waters.

What holiness lives here?

Turned, broken, spoiled,
this bread is placed in my hands
to take and eat in the company of saints.


No, not set apart but stitched together,
A ragged bread, a ragged people.

Do this in remembrance of me.

As I stand just outside her door,
pull on blue latex gloves,
set a mask over my mouth,
I remember.

I can see her fingers, blackened
by necrosis, eating her alive.
I see the bread in her ruined hands
open to receive it.

This, too, is the body of Christ.

Nadine Ellsworth-Moran

Camping in the Redwoods
Heart of wood