We fill the benches like a flock of crows.
The sunny days are coming. The frigid world thaws. The lawn and trees seem to stretch around us, skies dressed in vivid blue, trees in that day glow green that always promises coming spring.
Cars trunks and doors slam. The voices of children and their parents fill the park again after months of silence.
They arrive on Good Thursday in some pagan ritual even they do not understand.
“Father, give me these truths to be self evident...”
We sit, and laugh, praising the sun gods for warming our bones.
The children run like wild beasts, screeching.
They find the rusted lids from autumn’s litter buried under muddy blankets of fallen leaves.
They hold these brown hosts up and grin, telling their parents, “Look what I’ve found.”
Parents crush bits of bread and spread them on the still dank lawn for the dusk.
“Before this night is through, before the coking crows, you will deny me...”
They toss the humble offerings to the crowd of feathers, wings flapping, beaks muttering, each accepting the promise of life.
“This is my body...”
I keep asking, “Where is the wine?”
While my companions nod on the benches around me, empty bottles stashed under sheets of wet newspaper.
Our foul breathe smells like decaying dead cats.
I cough up blood.
“This is my blood...”
The ducks quack, accepting their donation, as if they had only one day left before one gets cooked or hung up.
Spring grows with the rising sun, an ever changing reality, ducks quacking all the more because of the warmth, accepting more bread as I cough up more blood.
I keep wondering aren’t the ducks ever satisfied. They grow fat and plump, like the couples I see wandering through the park on warmer days caught in a bubble of love.
“Before this day is done, one shall betray me?”
Is there some connection between the 12 months of the year and the 12 apostles?
Is one month going to betray me? Is April just a deception, a lie that will turn back to cold before warmth can make me whole again?
I cough up more blood.
The parents continued to feed the birds.
The kids run wild across the lawn screaming.
My friends snore on the benches beside me.
“Could you not stay awake with me just one hour?”
The sun becomes blinding, spreading its beams across the still unfulfilled park garden.
“This is my body and blood?”
I wonder why we have sea gulls here when we are so far from the sea.
I feel myself sinking with each cough, and wish I was a duck.
Duck’s don’t drown, and get to eat bread.
It is the wrong bread. The garden grows more vivid in the light.
“Lord, if it be thy will let this chalice pass...”
I bread never stops. The parents spread one loaf across the lawn as if my miracle managing to feed the multitude.
A bottle drops from my pocket as I nod off , glass and the remnants of wine shattering on the pavement at my feet, each shark glistening with red.
I cough and cough, waiting for the sun, my side aching with hunger, my mind searching for a way to turn myself into a duck.
The parents call their kids, then clutch them as the rabble makes their way through the gauntlet of benches where we sleep or sit, eyeing us with great suspicion.
I cough, spit out the blood so that it mingles with the remnants of wine on the ground.
Three days until Easter and I know I won’t make it this year.