“After the Eucharist” - poem by Sophia Stid

Sophia Stid

Soon, I knew, we’d all fail, the world rushing back
loud as horses to fill the space we’d made. But for now:


this tenderness, unlocked inside my jaw. To know there –
in my mouth – that a word is food. To know with my mouth


how a word became food became life became air. The air
I breathed in, sharp, when a professor said to me, “You’re


going to need a certain kind of man” – in his office, before
class. He’d asked if he could close the door. My paper


on his desk, my grade circled – VERY good – written in red,
ink still wet, writing itself on my mind even now, misplaced


shame I claim as mine – what had I done to make him think,
what had I worn – No, I tell my mind. No more replicating


centuries of obfuscated blame. I’ll tell you what he wore:
a suit and tie. I took my paper silently and went to class,


where I sat in the back and swallowed words the rest
of the semester. The Word of the Lord, we hear in church,


our hands carving crosses into air. And one of those words
is No – sacrosanct, sufficient whether felt or said. My prayer.