At the age of reason
you ought to know better
is what I hear in the dim light
of confession…and then
clothed in white and given to show
I walk the plank stair
of communion
            A little brother a baby sister
firetruck clang of Broadway
sleep between the spaces of heavy
                     truck and train whistle
            traffic at the edge of my ear

The next year
a nun raps my fingers with a ruler
Ma&Aunty move away
floozy Esther brings forbidden
      songs with her smoke & mirrors
I’m reduced to pleas

                                          for a bicycle
And here I am at seven
  caught in a Kodak still life
                             trying to see
what’s left & right & wrong