Aug 4, 2009

The Liturgy of the Gym

Written by Kerry Krouse

Read by Johnathon Williams

What do you do during communion? Sit on your hands.
Count each body around you as it stands, measure

the width of the gaps. Conjugate Latin verbs.
Laudo: To praise. Study the clerical collar: the rib

of an infant, a nest, a shield. Press your hands
against the ridged metal bleachers until they are lined

like sheet music. Follow the trajectory of hymns
as they rise above you and through the court’s high basket.

Laudant: They praise: They cup the right palm over
the left, they guide the chalice to their lips
. You conjure

your imaginary minyan. Catalogue the smells of the high
school make-shift chapel: popcorn, dust, rubber, wax.

Laudas: You praise: You cover your eyes with your palm,
name Adonai in your father’s tongue
. Count the red shirts,

then the white ones. Guess the weight of the invisible
star you carry inside your body: more or less than a bowl

of ash, a mouth of fire. What do you do during
communion? Look at your hands. Count the bodies

as they return. Feel the star pushing against your skin,
your shirt. Paint a landscape: the chapel a field of light

filled trees, and you a single leaf on a broken olive branch,
wild and rootless, unable or unwilling to graft.

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