by Sue Fagalde Lick

A photo of a sliced loaf of bread with a knife on a cutting board.

Mass after Mass, it’s the same.
The priest raises the chalice
declaring it the blood of Christ.
Parishioners bow, tap their chests,
mutter, “my Lord and my God”
while I stare, straining to believe.

I know blood. Just last week,
I sliced my finger in the kitchen.
The red stuff gushed and dripped
as I ran to staunch it with a towel,
hoping the cut was not so deep
it would all bleed out, leaving me

nothing but a pale sack of skin.
Bandaged, blood pulsing to escape
I tasted a stain on my knuckle:
Blood, salt, iron, oxygen. Bitter
this sap that runs through my veins
just as it ran through God-made-man.

I can imagine the excruciation
of nails in hands and feet, thorns
digging into His scalp, the sting
where sweat met whip slashes,
the sudden shock of the lance.
That I do believe. Like this

sudden careless finger slice,
His blood gushed and dripped,
made dark circles on the dirt.
It stained the burial cloths,
the stone where He was laid.
Golgotha reeked of blood.

He didn’t serve it in a chalice
for us to take a reverent sip,
sweet, a pleasant tang of alcohol.
No, it was messy and He gave it all.
In the shadow of the crucifix,
I bow at the raising of the cup.

Sue Fagalde Lick
Sue Fagalde Lick has published two chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Poems by a Distracted Catholic. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Cirque, Presence, Rattle, and Fireweed. Sue works as a Catholic music minister and lives on the Oregon coast with her dog, Annie.


  1. What a wonderful poem, Sue! I love how you wove your own cut with all the cuts Jesus endured. And, that ending: touchingly perfect! Brava!


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