It’s Not the Bread, Man

It’s Not the Bread, Man
“Your words are words of eternal life.” John 6:68b

You’re there
pressed between one unwashed body and another,
smelling more than a bit pungent yourself.
The flies seem to swarm from nowhere,
the sun over-warm evaporates the sweat
pooling across your back and neck.
Your bottom’s numb, feet asleep
but you strain for each morsel
that flows from the Rabbi’s tongue

You have a goatskin of water
fastened to your waist, some crumbs
of unleavened bread and a bit of cheese
stashed in a twist of linen.
It’s all the food you have left from an earlier repast.
And the stomach will not stop growling
but you are mesmerized by the man
down in front of the crowd
who speaks words you’ve never heard
not from anyone

It doesn’t matter that the fish is over salty,
the bread baked the day before,
you break off a piece and keep handing
it around to someone else
and you don’t realize you’ve all been
fed from one young boy’s packed lunch…

It’s the Man before you, his fire,
his compassion, his wisdom
that makes you hungry, thirsty
for that you cannot yet define—
a taste, an aroma, a glimpse of the divine.
You mark His way as the crowd is dispersed
and not alone, you follow.

c. Darlene Moore Berg


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