As a Boy, I Loved the Boy | wisconsinacademy.org
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As a Boy, I Loved the Boy

As a Boy, I Loved the Boy

… who soloed before the congregation
each Christmas Eve: O Holy Night,
stars above shining and to this day
I think certain angels too were blinking

down. O, but he strode like a man
with cleats on the heels of his black
boots. By the age of catechism, flicked
his butts still flaming in the courtyard
lawn. The rest of us recited our verses well
but couldn't sing. When the wart-faced

pastor croaked out against our transgressions
—chewing gum, sleeping in class—
we'd squirm, blush, put our heads down
pitifully. Not the bad boy. He'd slick
his fingers through his hair and smirk.
Who could blame such a golden voice

crowds in bigger towns paid for?
Put him on stage with a rock band of minor fame
which may have grown had it not been one night. …
My mother mailed the news. I had moved away
years beyond. Had almost forgotten his name
though not the face, the tremolo, the crescendo

thrilling me like a boy wouldn't admit, the shame
having drained from me those everlasting services
on Christmas Eve. I wish I could have been an angel
in his hotel room far away. As the smoke crawled
over him, tongues of fire lapping the sheets. I'd have knelt
to kiss his brow. Unfold my wings to hold him.

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