April 17, 2018

Oraban becomes god’s flesh during liturgy

and is largely debited to the deacons,

who bake bread after Ashayah

who pray the prayers of midnight

Ke ey-yo-Ke agiyou ep-nevmaty

Ke e-ke ayi

Playing hymns while they knead the dough

lulling the ghost of our language as the ancient medal stamps Coptic crosses on the tops


The dough proofs into bread as they kneel to god in ceremony

the ones with the best stamps and most circular shape are taken to Abuna under a veil

Ke stoci enne stoci anomati

ketele estoce benotie


There is always an ostrich egg hanging before the main sanctuary door.


The monks sift through the desert for them. The eggs must be rotten from the within and the only

way to make sure of it is to drill a hole in the top and drain it like a vein. Then the eggs are

polished before being placed in a leather net woven with Coptic crosses. Abuna said the egg is

meant to symbolize the people that appear pure on the outside but are rotten within; the people at

church who sit in the front row smiling at god, knowing they will sin once they go home.


I remember staring at the hanging ostrich egg

Making the sign of cross with my right hand

Positive I was one of them

rotting with sin

nearing eternal suffering

rotten within

wishing for god to drain me vein

and hang me in the altar



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