“A Meal” by Iris Hockaday

A Meal

Our meal in the center of the table, nothing special
Salad, pasta, rolls, butter, served on chipped plates
Hands held, chained together by prayer and something we can’t name
A rediscovery of ourselves in the presence of others
Mouths chewing over words, swallowing, digesting
Dipping our bread in the profound, unknowing
Olive oil and herbs, bits of basil and blessing, plenty of sauce chunky with tomato
Grated Gruyere, fresh parsley, paper towels for napkins
Sharing memories like relics, holy in their frailness
Shy laughter, a wash of rosiness over the gray
Conversation, soft as a dog nosing for a pat, a reassurance that everything’s okay
No fancy tablecloth or candles, a porch supper on oilskin
It is the first time we gather since the funeral
Since the over smelling of flowers in the parlor, hugs, the 23rd Psalm
Where we knelt at your altar, laid beautifully in cedar and brass
Where we offered up good byes, emptiness, numbness
And you listened intently with your eyes closed, to us or to Another
From your transmuted point of view
And now, during supper, we envy the bats coming out to feed
Their world no longer upside down, gleaning the darkness


A Maine native, HVWG member Iris Hockaday has an Associate of Arts degree in graphic design and a B.A. in psychology. She is a poet as well as a short-story writer, who has been published in Ellery Queen and Creative Inspirations