When Uncle Wally gives communion,
the feelings wash over him in waves.
The people come up one by one,
cupping their varied hands,
the cracked and the blistered,
the hard as horn, the soft
and the trembling and the white.
Or the eyes, crinkly or hooded or blank,
the eyes of sadness or the eyes of hope
as they look right at him or turn shyly away.
The anger and the longing and the hope
keep pouring out of the people
and passing into him, like radiation,
weakening his bones.
The old woman opens her mouth,
her pink tongue frilly as a flower.