Cheese Concordance

by Maria Hummel

Of all the foods chewed in the chaos of prophecy
from genesis to revelation,
cheese only arises three times—

once for Job, and twice for David:
in the ancient days of kings and plagues,
a pungent spread could still
change the bread of history.

Olives tumble through the flood, the psalms,
a tapenade of reasons to love, to age,

to rest one’s back against a sunny stone
and believe in the salt of God.

Wine and mustard seeds line
the plain dining rooms of the parable—

but nowhere did Christ relate any faith
to cheese, its damp earthy blessedness,
its yields of mold and spore.

If he died to give us
eternal life, to make us pure,
beyond the body’s corrupted form—

then surely there’s more, a lost
scroll, one last missing scene:

when doubting Thomas
probed the side of his master,

within that hole
he felt a crumbling coolness,
a spot where a forgotten mouthful of milk
might ripen, bubbling and dimpling,
into sour, delicious flesh.

Published on June 7, 2018