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.