SOME god or goddess planned it long ago,
Before I went to the primitive church,
A boy, seeing two lovers taking vows,
The graveyard outside the windows showing
Little mounds popping my eyes endowed
With rain the sunshine seemed to wind and lurch
Inside my body on the homemade bench
In late-hot springtime of sticky varnish.
The gummed stain stayed on my legs and thighs.
I fell asleep, nodding drifting afterglows
Of infinite blending that Preacher Mills
Carved in sermonettes, breaths I craved to grow
Up and away from the content on high
Hilltops where a savior and a devil, though
At odds with one another, seemed a part
Of each’s bent to win my separate heart.
I shifted, sitting with my guilty self,
Still am, while the images blurred across
My path like sparrows flitting after thefts
Of seeds in hollies of sun and dross,
The green October limbs still as a shelf
Of plenty to come in years I would coast
Through days without paying much attention,
An onslaught coming as friends made mentions.
When first I pick up the morning paper
And the obit-page falls open to names
I remember as close friends of dapper
Plays and replays, school, good remembrances,
With rules and a teacher named Miss Apple,
The slanting sound of an organ pedals
A power translatable as a bird’s chirp
I press on days curtailed in reeling hurts.