Selected by Debie Thomas

Communion in the Asylum
by Andrew Hudgins

We kneel. Some of us kneel better than others
and do not have to clutch the rail or sway
against those next to us. We hold up hands
to take the body in, and some of our hands
— a few — are firmer than the others. They
don’t tremble, don’t have to be held in the priest’s
encircling hands and guided to our lips.
And some of us can hold the wafer, all of it,
inside our mouths. And when the careful priest
tips wine across our lips, many of us, for reverence,
don’t moan or lurch or sing songs to ourselves.
But we all await the grace that’s promised us.

Andrew Hudgins is the author of numerous collections of poetry and essays, many of which have received high critical praise, such as The Never-Ending: New Poems (1991), which was a finalist for the National Book Awards; After the Lost War: A Narrative (1988), which received the Poets’ Prize; and Saints and Strangers (1985), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Hudgins is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and was the Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at The Ohio State University. He previously taught at Baylor University and the University of Cincinnati. Hudgins now lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife, the writer Erin McGraw.

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