Buzzed over the ice rink’s P.A.
My classmate Tony, the barber’s son: “Alls
He wantsa do is, you know, like, play.”
Bored with perfecting my languid figure eights,
I trailed him to a basement door marked GENTS
With its metal silhouette of high-laced skates
(Symbols, I guess, of methods desire invents).
Tony’s older brother was waiting inside.
I’d been “requested,” it seemed. He was sixteen,
Tall, rawboned, blue-eyed,
Thumbs hooked into faded, tightening jeans.
I fumbled with small talk, pretending to be shy.
Looking past me, he slowly unzipped his fly.
Her voice: steeped in a rancid syrupy phlegm:
Whatever’s not believed remains a grace
While again she invokes the power that yields:
Splintered timber and quick consuming flame:
The simplest way to take hold of the heart’s
Complications, its pool of spilt religion:
A long black hair sweat-stuck to the skin:
The bitter sleep of the dying: the Jew in Berlin:
Who sent you here? the sharp blade pleads:
Stormcloud: thornhedge: starchill:
Blood bubble floating to the top of the glass:
The light, from fleshrise to soulset:
The world dragging the slow weight of its shame
Like the train of pomp: guttering candle: her voice.
Parasangs, satraps, the daily drill . . .
Beginner’s Greek its own touchstone.
The sophomore teacher was Father Moan,
Whom I longed to have praise my skill.
The illustrated reader’s best
Accounts of murder and sacrifice
Only suggested the heavy price
I longed to pay at his behest.
He’d slap the pointer against his thigh.
I quivered. What coldness may construe
Of devotion was an experience
As hard to learn as catch his eye.
I kept my hand up. Here! I knew
The right answer. The case. The tense.