Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Portrait of Boy with Guitar

A good boy reads the Bible.
Only the illustrated one.

He watercolors the First Man.
Paints green a garden.

His long fingers turn
the page of Sunday school.

A good boy is told
these are gifts meant for pianos.

A boy believes in God’s gifts.
His piano becomes a fretboard.

The boy plucks God out
of the picture. Devil music.

The Father, his eyes
a big tell. Boy doesn’t trust him.

A good boy listens to his mother.
He plays for her.

Not for God.
A Father’s fingers

make the sign of the cross
with ash. The holy spirit

lives inside the boy.
The demon inside the boy.

Good Worshippers
speak in tongues.

They writhe on the floor
for God.

For God, the boy becomes
quiet. In awe, he lets go

& wants the holy fire,
the edge of a stage.

Yes, for God. The boy
& his stage, strumming.

A good boy’s mother
won’t go there. No more.

Hunched over a prayer book,
she recites prayers

nightly into a phone.
Where is the boy’s real father?

The one who gave
the book. He lays at home,

ungodly Sundays
on his back.  

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