Last Mass

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I can feel the tension in here.

Pursed lips and locked jaws restrained by elastic and cloth.

Sanitiser in pride of place on the altar.

It’s hard to focus on the mysticism when Father’s homily echoes over the gaps

where people should be.

.

It doesn’t feel safe anymore.

I pick at the skin near my nails.

The saints look sallow and tired too.

The host in my palm feels silly and small.

I don’t think I will ever get used to peeling my mask from my cheeks to let it fizzle

on my tongue.

.

We kneel to pray but can’t rest clasped hands on wooden pews.

Hands like heads bobbing as they shake suspended in dank air.

I catch his voice quiver as he breaks the spell.

Then, too quickly, hands back in coat pockets and into the cold.

.

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