Margaret Szumowski

Asking for the Bread

The crowd wants him passing out fishes
and dancing in the Piazza San Marco.
I wish I’d been brave enough to ask him to waltz.

but then Andrew is a sweet waltzer,
and who knows if Jesus can dance.
He invited us to the last supper, but I was so shy

I sat on the floor at his feet.
I didn’t have the courage to stand up and reach
for the bread. This Christ so vigorous

no one could refuse him. Except one.
Me, the scared woman on the floor.
Surely, I did not refuse the bread at the last supper.

He gently pulled me up
in front of those men and gave me the bread
I was afraid to take. Who could refuse him?

Was I the one refusing this vigorous Christ?
And what was he doing in Florence?
The Doge knows nothing of this young man

as he floats the Adriatic in his many-oared
buccarino. Everywhere Christ crucified and
giving out bread and the Doge looking

for splendor and manly men to take the oars
of his golden vessel while people line for bits
of the true cross. The winsomeness of Christ

is irresistible. Who wouldn’t float the canals
or even the Adriatic with him after that last supper.
I would, I tell myself,

knowing how I love the sea,
and men who can navigate
terrifying waters.