by Philip F. Clark

Father, trouble me memory;
laconic, idle, some glint on the dark. 
Recall us to me: what did we have, 
or what did we lose? Like some late 
affection, open me again, laugh it 
out of us. It is not loss I'm looking to
put back together, papered over by 
time, but rather that spontaneous 
picking through vaults -- suddenly 
opened -- let's both search there, 
with just the light of that caustic
twinge of recognition in your voice:
"You were ten, I think," "Perhaps older."
An Easter, all dressed up, waiting, impatient,
bored stiff as the dresses your daughters 
wore, or our ties -- too tight on bright
white shirts as we walked to mass,
to listen, sullen under stained-glass
pontification -- the men taking communion;
the women, veiled. Everyone waiting 
for the bars to open. What prayer 
passed us by as the incense blessed
us, heads bowed in genuflection?
I too, have taken bread on my tongue,
and with other unguents fed need.
We fled, each of us, to different exits:
You to home, and I to men I would 
never go to church with.