The dinner party

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. (Luke 7:36)

We gather —
a congregation
of indigestible gristle
unfit to serve.

We sit, transfixed
in polite horror
as she enters, unbidden.

Eyes avert
to bronze-skinned grapes
filling an olive wood bowl,
to the fly perched
on a half-eaten fig,
to pomegranates, split
as arils spill out,
to the stain of wine
on sunburnt lips.

She pours oil on his feet,
redolent, shimmering, working a path
over skin, received by the dust.

He speaks
and we are consumed.

NADINE ELLSWORTH-MORAN is associate pastor at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia.