Lunchtime Hierophany
by Charles S. Kraszewski

Funny, I thought, brushing past the quiet Chinawoman
Hopelessly flailing Falun Gong Atrocities flyers
Left, and right, splitting the stream of indifference
Like a rock too insignificant to mark
On whitewater maps,
I think the Lord made way for me on 31st St.
Just outside Vezzo Thin Crust before the scaffolding,
On the wobbly flashing of which his front wheels balked;
The Lord in potentia, that is: thousands of unleavened accidentia
In plain white crates marked Communion Wafers
(Plain black lettering, like the labels of generic meds
Or free bricks of government surplus cheese),
Balked at the flashing akilter on the paving stones
“Go right ahead, sir,” said the smiling black man
In the brown UPS shorts, making way for me
And steadying those arks of the covenant
Weft of corrugated cardboard, as they skidded at the jostle;
Funny, I thought, the Lord, He made way for me;
But are those myriad stacks of dry white glutens
Destined to become, in fact, the Lord,
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity?
Where is this burly St. Christopher bearing him?
To what sacrificial slab? I wondered
Frowning at sprawling mass of greasy parka
And duct tape, jangling his (or her) half-bitten styrofoam cup
Quarter-filled with mites and half-mites of widow and Pharisee;
To the Madison Ave. Baptist Church?
If so, then no: bread was, bread is, bread shall be
No more, sings the brazen head of reformation
There, and at Little Brown and Marble Collegiate churches;
But God is love, read the cardboard sign propped against the dirty shins
Squatting on Park Ave; a mouse-bitten kid with his own cup
Show Yours by Helping Me Get Home to My Loved Ones
Good luck with that, I thought, as
In West Virginia, the marker scrawl continued;
To the Little Church Around the Corner?
Well, possibly; in their minds, for sure,
The smells and bells crowd, with statues of the BVM and the saints
Like any Anglo-Catholic parish; they’ve even got Fides Opera
In glazed terra-cotta over rectory door;
If it’s there he’s headed, maybe
The Lord did, begad, make way for me in Midtown this morning,
And looking back, he did stop outside the shiny black fence there,
But St. Christopher (in embryo) only paused to drop
A few coppers in the pickle barrel corban
Set up on the corner Even a Penny Can Help the Homeless
Was part of the rasta-braided mendicant’s cry
(I gave him nothing; turned off completely
By his air of superiority: having nothing,
He thinks he has every right to berate those unfortunate enough to have anything)
Keep the faith, brother,
Boomed his thanks after the delicate tower of ciboria
Clattering on — his insufferable banner of unconscious pride
Waved shamelessly by needle-pricked arms
That never lifted anything heavier than a dime bag in their life;
But now he’s seen the light and all that’s been washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb;
But what about us, who’ve always lived in our private penumbra,
Toiling on, courteously, lukewarm, avoiding streetcorner trumpets
And backalley hustlings alike? Why are we the shame-covered ones,
The alimony payers, the college-indebted, the givers of roses on Secretary’s Day?
Then a blare of trumpets had me turn round on 29th,
Trumpets licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission
(The Lord dared to start crossing on the flashing palm,
His donkey bucked again, and a taqiyah-topped Cyrenian
Hosannah’d him in peeved Koti)
St. Stephen’s and Our Lady of the Scapular?
Ah, then it was to be Him, eventually,
Platelet by white platelet transubstantiated
And houseled in the golden tabernacle above the marble altar of repose,
Among the splendors of Constantino Brumidi
And in the clean red hearts of First Communicants and the tottering elderly
Unaware of the fact that this will be their Last;
So indeed, the Lord made way for me of all people
This morning in Murray Hill.
But why on earth did he park so far away?

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