My right hand—
when I cross myself—
patterns me with Presence
—Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost—
here in my head, my heart
(where I need it most),
my left side and my right.
Thus crossed before the cross,
I am signed both with
death and life,
the intersection of
darkness with light.

But with that crossing
in whatever holy place,
my dexterous right hallows
its sinister fellow.
Through Grace
rather than competing,
the agile blesses
the awkward part,
the strong (the one
that feeds me when I’m eating)
exalts the weak.

At Eucharist, or at table
for any sustaining meal,
the food I manage with
my right hands also feeds
the part less able
on its own to spoon, or speak
for its own needs.
So, here I kneel,
left hand cupped under right,
taking for both enough bread
for the journey,
for each, enough strength
for the week.

Luci Shaw

All poems are copyrighted by Luci Shaw.
To be reprinted only by permission of the author.