Sister Ann Zita
Shows Us the
Foolishness of the
Forbidden Books
The Plague of God, the Rod of God
Sister Ann Zita wrote on that clouded blackboard
while Donald Wilcox whispered
the Cock of God, the Cock of God
into Karen Awlen's red ear, making her lean forward,
her breasts shifting under the starched white blouse,
the silver dog on the silver chain dangling in that seventh-grade sunlight
as we all watched the Serpent of the Bottomless Pit
coil through the nine planets beneath which
Richie Freeman dunked strands of Donna's long gold hair into the inkwell,
Ann Harding and Ronny Michaels passing back and forth a note folded
at least ten times with I love you written in red at the crinkled center,
Al Aldon's fart so loud when he grabbed it mid-aisle
that Sister looked up from her Book of Devils and Stars to ask what was going on,
pointing to the demon with seven serpent heads, fourteen faces and twelve wings,
telling us St. Paul said it would have been better if we had not been born
since we were all sinners, Donald whispering
Yes, Yes, in the alley behind the Union Diner,
as he flapped his wings back there by the clothes closet till he fell
out of his seat, Sister reminding us it took Satan nine days, not a split-second,
to drop from Heaven to Hell, the hands of the big clock above the door
clicking toward twelve making me bend to tie my laces and see Barbara McGill
scratching her thigh, skirt hitched up to the mound of her ass,
the four lines her fingernails had raked a wavery blood red
through the short, yellow-white hairs, the bluish tint of her white, white skin.

--- Len Roberts
From APR 1996

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