Peter Pereira Sky Burial Tibetan funeral ritual He unwraps the corpse, arranges the body upon the altar rock. Saffron-robed monks begin to chant. The burial master lights the sandalwood incense, claps his hands three times, calls Shey, shey! (Eat, eat!) to the sacred vultures, waiting among the pines. Oh, to be released to the sky this way. Bones picked clean. Not dust into dust, but flesh into flesh. The Young Priest Your years at Immaculata could never have prepared you for this small a parish, so far from heaven. What agony to stand before them, robed in purple, holding the tin chalice amid its hosanna of flies. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins . . . Lamb of God, who takes . . . grant us peace. The village boy spreads open the book and you touch it with your lips, trying to forget where your mouth has been, what forbidden creases it has tasted. (Remember: You are only a man,) This is my body. (it was only a moment) This is my blood. (of bliss.) You answer each tongue
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 31, 2006
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