Cherubim of my first great boredoms,
You barnstormed each Hail Mary,
Swooped sonorously overhead and signed
—in one great cursive loopty loop—
A classroom’s airconditioned sky,
And since we were talking about God,
I felt sure you knew everything theological.
I still feel that: still feel the jabbing ends
Of your eye-lash long legs scaling my neck,
Still hear you tap the rectory’s glass—
Their panes enameled with decades of dust,
As though you were knocking to pass
From this world to the next and back again.
Where else did you go, after all, but up
To take the vantage point of God?
Spying, waiting, rubbing your legs together.
Hours you called my wandering glance
And settled on Father Gregory’s left cheek—
His lids trembling, his lips moving
As he led us in recitations of the Creed.
Smack dab in the middle of the “Believes,”
He’d slap his face so hard, all would boom.
Spectacles sprung off one ear to hang,
Wrecked on the side of his Roman nose.
He swore a missal of words my father’d known.
“Where is it?” “Where the hell did it go?”
Lithe-winged Lucifer whose fits of pride
Took you among galaxies of swirling dust,
Those stars whose pouring constellations
Formed in September’s window light.
At last, you came to rest up the face
Of suffering Christ high on his cross
High over the door. From there you watched us
Drone our ways through still more Mary’s
And longer Our Father’s, Contritions.
Then, upon one of our “amens”,
You’d come landing again: boy after boy
As though each finger or brow or drooping lid
Were just another head of just another pin
On top of which you’d come to dance alone.