I never remember to say grace at meals
when I’m seated at a table
in front of a steaming bowl of home cooked food
or a hot white-rimmed restaurant plate with sculpted vegetables, artfully sauced.
So since when did I begin silently saying grace
over my grocery basket
while standing in the brightly lit aisle of a supermarket
or the bustling crowds of a farmers market?
I remember those Saturday mornings,
staking pain, calculating
the subtotal in my head.
Must remain below thirty dollars.
Jesus could feed five thousand families with two fish and five loaves.
But if I’m careful, I can make thirty dollars stretch to five hundred calories a day,
for a week.
This is how I keep the mortgage paid
on the house I no longer live in
so that two grown men can squat and cyberstalk under its roof.
I refuse to pay their internet bill.
But I can manage the mortgage if I expertly ration ravioli, organic milk, eggs, bread, yogurt + granola.
On a good week, three organic fuyu persimmons.
On Tuesdays with my girlfriends, two veggie street tacos for a dollar fifteen apiece.
I lost the house, anyway.
Can’t pay a mortgage with unconsumed calories.
But I said grace all along and ever since.
Every week, I stand surprised when I let down my basket, wincing as the circulation returns to my forearm and fingers, the basket’s plastic mesh bulging with necessities I still consider delicacies, gleaming like freshly caught fish, twitching against fraying nets.
Food and toilet paper, tampons, kitchen + bathroom cleaner, paper towels, and hand soap.
Bless the hands that...
please and thank you, Amen.