Along the mountain pass I made my way,
Beneath the razor edges of the hills,
Below the peaks that scraped the heightened air,
Which at their summits still held hoary snow.
My phone’s map app had long since ceased to work,
And I had brought no compass for my trek.
The trail alone I trusted, but I felt
That it might yet betray me on its way.
But I had gone too far to turn back now.
I rounded a great bend, and to my shock
I saw a field of massive, crumbled stone
That curved and spiked in smooth and careful lines
Where it had not been broken by great force.
The jet black hue of that which lay unmoved
Contrasted with the mountains’ craggy gray.
I saw carved limbs and faces and more signs
That these were human doings, even though
These mountains had no record of such things.
What were these ruins? I could not discern.
Someone had scrawled ‘Eliza’ on a face
That looked out, empty-eyed, upon the hills.
But this was just graffiti, and the truth
Eluded me, though I long stood and peered.
I felt a kind of tingle on my back
That told me what I saw here was most strange.
If I had thought to find such things as these
I might have come much sooner on this trail.
I stood in silence there—I matched the stones.
My mind turned round in quiet, careful thought.
I used my phone to snap some photographs
And video to prove where I had been.
In time, however, I began to feel
That I was straying too long in this place.
So I, with a final glance, went on my way,
But carry with me thoughts of what I’ve seen
And memories that will be with me yet.
Glinting on the rays of purest gold,
Shining through the shadows there
Upon the simple wafer-disc
Which has brought nations, armies to their knees.
Beyond all thought,
Beyond mere words—but no mere words have I.
Grasping to behold the truth of things,
This simple thing,
Yet so beyond the thoughts of men;
Trying, striving, failing.
In it the universe turns inside-out.
The eyes and ears both lie;
The truth is grasped by one’s immortal soul.
Oh, flesh divine that made all flesh divine!
Formed of wheat,
Yet not of wheat,
Sitting there in shadow and in light,
I speak, but do not speak.
The silence tells the story best of all.
And in it the wafer seems to pulse,
In and out and in and out and in,
Like those sharp breaths drawn oh, so long ago,
When it was finished, finally, at last.
I sat there, and the empty space was still.
A woman came then, falling to the ground,
And on her knees she crawled forward to see,
Adoring, weeping, gazing past the gold,
In hope, perhaps, to see some speck of blood.
I woke to the sound of chirping birds and bugs,
And at my tented ceiling did I gaze.
The air smelled fresh and crisp, and when I breathed
I could detect the hint of sap and pine.
I smiled and shrugged my blanket off my form,
And reached out for the zipper of my tent.
I pulled the flap away and stepped outside.
With puzzlement I saw the world around:
It was a place of blotches and soft hues.
A filmed and blurred miasma met my eyes.
Confusion held me briefly then I thought:
My contact lenses, optometrist’s art.
I hadn’t put them in yet, so I dove
Back through my tent and slipped them on my eyes.
Emerging once again, I now could see.
With clarity and sharpness I beheld
The forest that arose in towered trees
And limbs that stretched in pond’rous majesty.
I stood a while, enjoying what appeared,
Remembering the sights for later times.
Then I packed up my camp and journeyed on.
C.A. Shoultz is writer, poet, critic, and analyst, currently residing in Dallas, Texas. They obtained their Bachelor of Arts in Great Texts of the Western Tradition from Baylor University, and is currently studying at the University of Dallas, earning a Master of Arts in English Literature. Shoultz’s has multiple poems published in venues like First Things magazine, New Pop Lit, and Tiny Seed Literary Journal. Additionally, they have had several short stories published, in places like Pinecone Magazine, Across The Margin, The Other Stories, and Terror House Magazine.