“Host” by Roz Spafford
From The Gospel According to Mary
Hungry for justice, he
won’t eat, not
one grape nor flake
of fish. His flesh
is grass, dry
as a whisper.
to divide his body
like those fish.
Gambling on scraps,
returned in baskets,
He would be bread
dry and flat
broken for us.
He would be memory.
Behind him the demons hiss.
Subsistence is what they give us:
our sardines sold for sauce,
our land for taxes.
Heartsick, he would free us
with his shed blood.
As if the broken body
of one more boy
could fix history.
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Roz Spafford Artist Statement:
Roz Spafford grew up in the 1950s, on a cattle ranch downwind from the Nevada Test
Site. Her stories and poems address how land and livelihoods are stolen and
contaminated, how all of us are shaped and misshapen by historical forces, how the old
stories that haunt us can be retold. Her origins are working class; she is white and
Canadian. “Host” appears in her first book of poetry, Requiem, which received the 2008
Gell Prize; it was published by Big Pencil press, the imprint of Writers & Books. A story,
“Drought,” received the 2010 David Nathan Meyerson prize for fiction from Southwest
Review. “The Season” received the 2014 Obsidian Award from High Desert Journal, and
“Watering Stones” was awarded the short-fiction award from New Millennium Writings.