Holy Communion

Holy Communion

                   For my parents

The priest gathered us under the cross

In our living room, parents seated,

Children kneeling. The book opened,

The words of old prayers flew about

Like freed doves, trained to return home.


We don’t know if my brother opened

The last bottle of wine, or if I protested

Dad’s dying one last time, when I offered

The glass of red instead of the morphine,

Because, for God’s sake, we’ll do this right.

Mom and my sister nursed dad through

The small hours, talking softly about

What will happen to all of us scattered

Too far from home. Dad told us to plant

A row of fruit trees, fix the writers’ shed.


It’s Sunday morning. The sun rises

In the autumn-burned trees, above our church.

The priest alone waits for us with holy oil,

Holy wine, incense, prayers, and songs.

My brother, my sister and I walk through

The door. We light three candles. Our faces

Are reflected in the face of Christ glowing

In the icon lit by stained-glass-windows-sunrise.

The priest calls us to the altar, where we

Drink the tiny spoon of wine. Peace.


I walk alone to the room I filled with flowers

Nearly seventeen years ago, preparing

For my wedding. The mind has a way

Of layering parts of our lives, so that dying

Father, lost marriage, and those August roses

Reflect each other in the memory of icons

I kiss this morning. My father’s cold hands

Are in mine: “Bravo” he says

When I kiss him all over his face, “Bravo”.

“I’ll stay a little longer,” he says, “you fly home”.

Grand River is covered in a fog that glows

In the growing morning. Maples emerge

Candle-like orange through dewy ribbons

Above the fogged-over water. And I take flight

Through the thick cloud, up towards the sun.

Sunday, 16 October 2022

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