Father Benides touched me in my special

place when I was eight. Then he put
his little man—like the neck of a goose

tethered to a telephone pole—to my forehead.
Families locked away in their houses—

drained swimming pools, deserted
runways, the flooded river. Everyone

is the way they are. I think
I laughed—as if I knew where I was

going, as if my shadow jogged on
before me. It’s not well to laugh

at another man’s misfortune. Father
Benides only smoothed my hair—I stared

at the chips in the ceiling. My conscience
is clear as regards having done

my duty. It’s his anger I envy most
today; his anger and his directness.