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thomas elson

at the feast

             It is the penultimate moment of his spiritual life -  bread and wine transubstantiated into body and blood, authorized by the words, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”


             On his first Sunday he heard the words, Domine, non sum dignus ut inters… Now he hears, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, speak but Thy word and my soul shall be healed.”

            And, each Sunday, he dutifully fasts from mid-night; then, as if on signal, when he hears those words, he crosses himself, rises from the end of the pew, scoots sideways toward the aisle, folds his hands, then steps back, and waits for the others to gather in front of him.

            In a stately and dignified manner, arms now crossed, he moves down the aisle toward the priest. He looks to his left then right - for short skirts, uncovered legs, elaborate hosiery, high heels, slightly suggestive movements, hair swept from eyes with a graceful brush of a palm, a colorful fingernail hooking a stray strand, a deep inhale, a display of pulchritude.

            And, as he gently strokes his left hand over the rounded pitch of the pew, his eyes grasp onto the thirty-five year-old smoothing her short skirt as she stands erect and smiles at him – while gathering in line for the feast.

15 January, 2023

Thomas Elson’s stories appear in numerous venues, including Ellipsis, Cirque, Better Than Starbucks, Bull, Cabinet of Heed, Flash Frontier, El Portal, Ginosko, Short Édition, North Dakota Quarterly, Journal of Expressive Writing, Dead Mule School, Selkie, New Ulster, Lampeter, and Adelaide. He divides his time between Northern California and Western Kansas. 

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