Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Benediction for the Feast

Benediction for the Feast

Sharanya Manivannan

Come to my table,
          my beloveds, my betrayers.

Let me feed you from the bowl of life.

             Cross my threshold
empty of palm, open of heart, eager of belly.

I have picked only fruit already fallen
        and herb without malice and
      flesh anointed and absolved.

I have placed a carnation beside each of your knives.

Here’s to the sweetness, here’s to the sting
  and here’s to the saltwater sacrament.

Here’s to the dreaming, here’s to the dead
          and here’s to the sacred delusion.

Take the hollow at the centre of your being
and      prise it open      to be
  savaged by grace, to be
    alchemized by love,

             to be filled with
  the dark and the holy,
     the sublime and the terrible.
Bloom fierce
 and wild and splendorous. Drink
         deep and without qualm. There's enough
                   for us all.


Sharanya Manivannan was born in India and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Her first book of poems is Witchcraft. She has received the Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship and the Elle Fiction Award. She wrote a column, The Venus Flytrap, for The New Indian Express, and her fiction, poetry, and essays have been widely published internationally, including in Drunken BoatWasafiriHobart, and elsewhere.

Sharanya Manivannan