Altar Boy by John Macker


I woke up an altar boy all
over again after all these years
I didn’t know godhood
from my neighborhood,
I knew the monstrance
held the mysteries,
I knew Father Ryan’s
hands were as fragile as white orchids
ritual like his cassock was applied to my
soul in layers. I rang the bells
I moved the Book
the other boy lit the candles,
went mute disappeared.
The mass abandoned Latin.
When I wrote myself into adulthood
Lorca said
The poet is an anarchist
the voices that rise from his being
are death, love and art but the bells still
ring in my darkened sleep, the voice of the
homily alive in my dreams, in the winter darkened
church all that’s left of my childhood is
my first and last confession.

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