Sacramental

by Josh Huber

Out here in the woods anything can happen. A cricket chirrups from a clump of high grass. A hawk passing above the trees screams. A squirrel rustles branch to branch dropping acorns from way up in a big oak.

At any moment a passing breeze could tug a jostle of gold-green leaves down, sending them twisting and bobbing to the ground.

It was the same yesterday in church where a tiny black spider had made a webby homestead beneath the tabernacle, and the morning sun finally clearing the loft apartments to the East made the back stained glass a sudden rainbow dazzle, and I, the celebrant, attempting to pronounce one thing and then swiftly another, muttered pillzzzda.

Pillzzzda, my Lord, for it was possible, if not probable, that with that spider, in that sunlight, the Spirit at any moment might have set a set of the old and faithful gathered to shouting joyful gibberish and dancing.

Now here at a creek-side puddle I can see myself minutely rippled and sliced by tiny silver minnows, as if my face were some vast tract of space lit by shooting stars.

At church I’m always tipped upon my head within the chalice’s surface brass. I recall how this turned over one mimics my every movement with curved metallic precision. He’s like me but, as one wholly repentant, stretched round to better embrace all this: the unutterable surprises of sacrament.

I see him still, bent there with arms outstretched and upside down, reaching for it all: the tabernacle spider and the stained-glass sun; the crickets and hawk and squirrel and falling leaves; the pillzzzda and the puddle. Like webs he hopes to hold. Like leaves to let go.

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