A Town Called Gesuiti

the mountains rise above the sea

the Vespas speed

to saint-day festivals

carrying convent girls

chickens and soccer balls

fly through the air

the boys conspire

they torture a chicken


soccer ball over crossbar

son of a rich man

clenches his hands

spits at the son of the poorest

hits at the mud on his shorts


little brother stands cursing

the team sun sand

and bloody Milan

the mule herder's son

runs with his cousin

son of a carpenter

into a basin

of leeches and snakes

the mule herder is dead

his son walked past the cemetery

got thrown to the ground by a spirit

an exorcism was conducted

the rich man whistles

walks to the Cantina

where men make good with the day

upright and serious

in Jesuit form

they share the wine

in her husband's house

a pot pounds off her swollen belly

he flees the room

she stays to inhabit cleanse warm mother

nurture the burden of birth

a twelve-year-old boy

holds shears to the soldiers' heads

walks home from the base

bearing tithes for the family

The spirit is gone

banished with oil

dark rooms, and‑shhhhh

heretic curses‑


The Jesuits lived here.

Quiet now.

The Jesuits will hear.

Published on Writing Beyond History. An Anthology of Prose and Poetry, Montreal, Cusmano, 2006