Poetry by Laura Buccieri

St. Rays

as a kid father ed said
if you’re good
you’d get to see the other
side of the sky

i do cartwheels in my school uniform
to make the sky touch the ground
orientation means many things
and in church i
am only allowed
to hold her hand
for the lord’s prayer

at home i ask mom
what’s higher than the ceiling
the roof
she says

i become an adult in bible verses
amen re-
verbing amen off
the tented church ceiling reverb
i’m  a man
i’ve found
i can talk myself into anything

today is the bottom bunk
is sleeping underneath
a steady collapsable weight

at every point i’m under
death which means i’m alive
10 hail marys

my mom pictures me
in my first communion dress
all white on the mantle
that’s where she goes to see me
that way: the day i learned to fake
a stomach ache
our agreed upon signal

for understanding as a kid
the sky was weather
was an easy thing to draw

listening to frank’s solo
which for the longest time
i thought was so low
10 hail marys

at church i feel
like i’ve hit
my head  that my brain is
missing memories
is a damaged tradition
is a shirt at salvation army
i cannot differentiate

a puncture wound
for the price tag
from a rip from a tear from a hole
all as permanent as sky

10 hail marys
thank you for not
caring as a teenager

i drove a nice car through a nice neighborhood
and had no idea my headlights were on bright
how everything could be silhouetted
i’m sorry

i am lucky
but do not know
who to thank
10 hail marys

eventually i’ll thank you
for something you did or didn’t do
father ed says manners
says sky

right now i can’t think of a room
bigger than a school gymnasium
smaller than a confessional booth

thank you
counts as a wall
10 hail marys
counts as a window

i learned how to read emotions
from a chart at the doctor’s office
rated on a 1 to 10 system
of trained recognition
my mom praying
every day at the hospital chapel

i talk to the reverb
frank says he’s a good guy
he’s an echo i’m trying to be
the good guy i’m trying to be
the good guy but i’m not
the guy good
or bad

at st raymonds i was number 6
always sitting next to number 7
this girl at church in mass on first fridays
always sitting quietly one hand apart
in december they still hadn’t turned the heat on
the girl and i we
got goosebumps at the exact same time

i think that’s romance

thank you even though
you did nothing
i could see you there
feel my reaction
to you
sink slowly into
the pew

10 hail marys
i realize i’ve always
been a woman praying
to other women

i’m sorry i’ll try to thank
you sorry i’m trying
confessing sorry
about the thank
you i’m still guilty
of believing

in untouchable things
clouds rubbing against
each shade of sky



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