When the Manna Ran Out

The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
- Joshua 5:9-12

We got so used to plucking manna flakes off the ground
feeding on evening quail rotisseried over campfire
filling calf stomach casks with cleft-rock water

we thought this was the gift and the divine life
to wake every morning with nothing to do save
sweep up breakfast and grab dinner by the squawking throat

but when the manna gave out and the quail and the flowing rock
our fingers rubbed raw from plucking low grain and high fruit
and our backs ached from hauling water from the far creek

another grace appeared, a new holy bequest exceeding the first
our tired frames gathered for dinner round the embers
and we ate and sang heaven-sent thanks for our bodies that work


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