Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Communion wafers at St. Mary’s of Sewanee are small portions of freshly-baked bread, and after receiving Communion yesterday, I smiled to myself when an old memory about my daughter #1 and a silver box of round white Communion wafers (to which I’m accustomed) surfaced. I wrote about the incident regarding Communion wafers in a former sermon, and the telling brought forth a sea of mothers’ smiles in the congregation at Epiphany in New Iberia, LA.

During the early 60’s I was member of an altar guild in Graham, Texas and one Saturday decided to take Stephanie, daughter #1, with me to prepare the altar for Sunday morning Eucharist. After I prepared the altar, Stephanie skipped over to the table that held the Communion elements and opened the box of wafers. She then turned to me with one of those winsome “want something” smiles and said, “Looka’ all the cookies.” I told her that they represented Jesus, or some similar inane reply, which I’m sure confounded her three-year old mind. However, she nodded as if she understood she wasn’t to eat them, and we finished our Communion preparations.

The following day we returned to the altar to put away the elements and to gather up the linen for washing. Stephanie immediately ran to the credence table, lifted the lid from the box that held the Communion wafers and scurried back to me with widened hazel eyes. “Mama,” she exclaimed in dismay, “Mama, Jesus eat all de cookies.”

Not long after that incident, I wrote this poem that appears in my chapbook, THE BOOK OF UNCOMMON POETRY, available from Border Press:


I delight in my child
who presses the small leaf of me
into the branch of her larger perceptions;

I delight in my child
when my false possessions possess
all except one capricious movement
tipping in barefoot daring
through the splinter of my ways.

This one with the burnt corn hair,
the first robin song of each morning,
making calculated pecks at my cheek,
urging me to reduce this world
to a tiny merry go round for her hands,
whining the carefully taught noise of my name
in impish assumption of reckoning.

I delight in my child
as she presses the small leaf of me
into the branch of her larger trust,
and I crackle with the dry anxiety
of Mother love.
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