14 Jun

Lacking an organist                            (new)     (to be published in Cantos–2014)

He had never been good
At call-and-response,
Fumbling along at church, mumbling words
He hoped matched the devout person next to him.
In Spanish class as a kid
He mouthed the conjugations of verbs
While the teacher intoned them to others
Who knew what to say.
Only at baseball games
Did he read the clues correctly
Responding back in perfect time
To the organist’s call, confident and true.

So when she said to him after dinner
“I love you”
He hesitated.
He knew this called for a response.
But he was again standing behind wooden pews
Hoping someone with faith
Would say the words for him.
He did not know how to conjugate that verb.

If she had only said it as a chant,
“Na na na na”
              (Na na na na)
“Na na na na”
              (Na na na na)
“Hey Hey Hey”
              (Hey Hey Hey)
“I love you”
              (I love you)
He would have repeated the words to her,
Even screamed them if needed,
And he would have meant them, too,
Because he knew he did love her.

But he hesitated.
So she just heard her call
And not his response
Her invitation fading out over empty plates.


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