Robin Dawn Hudechek


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The Communion Thief

When the priest turned his back,
the girl closed her hand around the wafer
willing the dough to rise like air
in a chest about to quit breathing.  

She heard what happened to another communion thief, long ago.
The wafer began to bleed through the old woman’s handkerchief,
drops spattering the church driveway like paint pellets.
The girl locked her bedroom door, opened her purse
and found the wafer, still dry, folded in a tissue.
The nun in catechism warned her:  desecration of the holy host
was a mortal sin.  The boys tittered in the back of the room.
She imagined them stabbing communion wafers with pens,
using them as chips in poker games or feeding seagulls
who dropped the bread from their beaks,
unimpressed with crumbs that tasted like paper.  
The worst she could imagine
was crushing the host under her bike wheels,
like leaving tire marks on Jesus’s unblemished skin.   
The bread was dead, wheat shorn from the field and
heated in some baker’s oven.
Jesus was dead.  What if she rode her bike
over the wafer again and again
until it mingled with the dirt it had once come from?
It didn’t matter that she never got on the bike
and the host was safe in its tissue on her bookshelf.
Walking away with the wafer was sin enough.
If Jesus sent her to hell tonight
he would be as bad as those nuns
who allowed the host,
a representation of Christ, of a Man’s body
to dissolve on their virgin tongues
before swallowed.


Robin Dawn Hudechek received her MFA in creative writing, poetry from UCI. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including Caliban, Cream City Review, Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets, Cadence Collective, Silver Birch Press, East Jasmine Review, Hedgerow: a journal of small poems, and work upcoming in Chiron Review. She lives in Laguna Beach, CA with her husband, Manny and two beautiful cats, Ashley and Misty. More of her poetry can be found at