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Arrival at Emmaeus
Anne Emmons

Left lonely at table, abruptly
abandoned by a Third who,
with reluctance, had remained
to sup with us and bless a mournful

meal of bittersweet returns,
we both beheld within His absence
an unexpected Presence,
an unattended Friend.
The room held hushed remnants of a sigh,
illumined bits of dust and crumb, falling,
resplendent, in the growing twilight.
A trace of strange sweetness hung

in that space as we, still captured
in the moment between memory and fading
dreams, stared into each other's souls,
still savoring the taste of blessed
brokenness and barely whetted thirst.
A cup rests, untouched, upon a wooden table,
its echo dissolves as the splendid
silence clears for the next breath.

Still, in these nagging attachments,
the empty, anxious frailty of our bodies,
freedom may at last be approached.
Of course! truth ought to be proven

in the elements of which we daily partake,
even hourly crave.
In walking, as we suffered an acute
burning in the chest, a haunting

twinge of memory's nerve, we strained
to grasp the breadth of a mystery untold,
to plunder some sacred grail.
These did serve to seize our attentions,
if only for the moment. Eternity enters,
even more suddenly, eludes such
isolated seconds of illumination,
creates a new aloneness.

Our senses were aroused, curiously
troubled in broken recollections
of a story far beyond their grasp; I wonder
. . . it was, after all, not through homilies

but hunger the Almighty has unveiled;
His presence nowhere if not in the instant,
the single well-worn form: crumbs upon
the palm, drink held on the tongue.

Of all we know of the Master, who
was so present, always near,
would he shrink to the obscure?
He was seen when not yet sought, known

in the unnamed, envisioned in our slumber.
When at once the Word breathed into our grief
stricken ears and Love arrested blindness, bread
filled our empty hands, drink laved parched throats,

our eyes lifted, open. Seeing beyond
understanding, suspended within seeds
of hunger and hope, is enlightenment:
the Incarnation, which we shall touch.

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