Portrait, with fasting or hunger

There are those who press their faces to the prayer
mat at designated times in the same way monks

go around the villages to collect their one meal
for the day. Something about the body being

a temple needing upkeep. Or a temple needing
supplicants in order to be more than a room

with marble fittings. I listened to a radio
program in which a cultural anthropologist

hypothesized manna in the desert was a kind
of hoarfrost that dried into spongy fragments,

porous like bread crust. Everything that can
be warmed up or poured into a bowl, a stance

against death such that going without
could be construed as a lack of desire

for communion. At noon and in the evening,
neighbors hear the cries of an old woman

who has been left by herself. The moon
makes her remember the jewels she believes

have been stolen from her purse. She turns it
inside out, shakes: only spiders and dust

fall out. They don’t discriminate either.
They slip easily through any crack in the door.


In response to Via Negativa: The great equalizer.

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