The Audition

In this game we confess the things
about ourselves we’ve never told
before: Gary wearing the same shirt
for all four of his high school class pictures,
Jim doing something slightly shady
for the C.I.A. in Nam, Kelly dancing topless
that summer to get through grad school.
I hesitate between the public swimming pool
when I was ten, or sitting on my brother’s face
and breaking his nose, till I remember
Terry Mayo, not only the prettiest girl
in first grade, but maybe ever, so lovely
she was born for Frank Harris, who wore
a coat and tie to school, and, even I could see,
was handsome as a movie star. A little
sheepishly, I decide to scrawl on my scrap
of paper how, for her birthday, I gave her
a brown-plastic-framed picture
of Jesus, knowing my friends will laugh
for years to come. But what they won’t know
is how she suddenly kissed me bang
on the mouth in the middle of the playground
in front of God and everybody, or that, when
Christmas came, it was not me, but Frank, gold
in the robe his mother made, who knelt
in the straw with the sheep, while I stood
next to her, cotton wool on my chin, towel
on my head, and felt with my hand, for a full
ten minutes, her waist, tiny and warm.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Working out for the body of a god? What about the body of a convict?
Zac DavisJuly 28, 2017
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters ahead of a health care vote on July 27 on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, with McCain casting a decisive "no." (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)
“We are relieved and delighted that the Affordable Care Act remains intact,” Sister Carol Keehan said. “We think that this is really an important moment now to hear the people on both sides of the aisle that have said we need to come together and work on making this better.”
Kevin ClarkeJuly 28, 2017
Photo by Michael O'Loughlin
Ms. Cook said she often witnessed individuals climbing the rickety wooden steps leading up to the memorial. “It was the saddest thing you’ve ever seen. You just wanted to cry,” she said, recalling the mothers, in particular, mourning the loss of their dead sons.
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, pictured in an early January photo, has become increasingly outspoken as the Nov. 8 election approaches and has urged the nation to embrace religious diversity. (CNS photo/Lynn Bo Bo, EPA)
Cardinal Bo believes the establishment of diplomatic relations between Myanmar and the Holy See could “help build up Myanmar as a democracy and contribute to peace building in the country.”
Gerard O'ConnellJuly 28, 2017