Daily Bread – a poem by Renwick Berchild

Daily Bread

Inside the ache. Doused in the heat. The plastic Virgin won’t
address me, her eyes cast down.

I hear her sighs. I hear all the mother gods and idols sigh.
The Gaia, Ishtar, Ix-chel, Chang’E on high

draped in her nightgown.
Gravity pulls the blood from my body, the unborn

sinking fog, wending rivers, rustling greens;
so even the mountain will not last forever, fated to be swallowed

and drawn low. What to do
with all these elementals and goddesses then?

Every morning, I drink from a manufactured chalice,
sip the Earl Grey, the black Darjeeling, the Pekoe.

I navigate around the islands in my apartment, read the books
that imperfect but eager people sent into the future,

run my fingers over an unclean counter,
grasp a doorknob,

breathe. So where are
the holies and their likenesses,

where be their words in my daily doings?
Books of the dead, Abrahamic verses, the written words of pilgrims

pressed between bindings, grimoires, old folk songs
that refuse to dim;

how could I have ever hoped
to catch the new sermons spoken?

Merely, I envision their pillars, breasts of nectar, blue
shoals, eyes like dead fish, smiles from cut stone, hands wringing

out tree limbs, choking them barren, burnt colors
scarring my human skin; I guess somewhere,

in these lines, I might’ve unconsciously uttered
prayers.

Renwick Berchild is half literary critic, half poet. Her poems have appeared in Spillwords, Vita Brevis, The Stray Branch, Lunaris Review, Slink Chunk Press, Streetcake, and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. She was born and raised on the angry northern shores of Lake Superior, and now lives in a micro-apartment in Seattle, WA. You can find her work and additional links at RenwickBerchild.com.

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