Easter Sunday, Circa 1982

I pose in the backyard beside an oak tree

in a powder-blue leisure suit with a vest

and a butterfly collar and bowl haircut.

I squint as the sun strikes my eyes

and smile like a jack-o-lantern, black gaps

replace the space my baby teeth held.

It’s Easter Sunday, and I just returned

from mass where Father Fitzergerald

dazzled the parish with stories of Jesus rising

from the tomb of the dead and ascending

into heaven in a backdrop of pink sky.

In this photograph, I am a Child of God,

born at three p.m. on Good Friday,

eight years old, squinting into the future.

There’s not a hint of booze on my breath,

or powder tracing the rim of my nose.

There’s no lipstick on the butterfly collar

or lies circling my head like a swarm of locusts.

I am pure, a Child of God, unblemished,

taking my first languid steps toward my cross.

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. A high school teacher, his books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009) Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2012), Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing, 2013), My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014) and Almost Christmas (Redneck Press, 2017). A novella titled Fly like the Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. Graziano also writes a column for Manchester Ink Link. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.