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Learning the Scriptures

Molusco … Aqui… Aqui.
Bucket in hand, I follow

his lead. His silhouette
in the early light strikes

a perfect toe point – not ballet
but the liturgy’s greeting

in a sun-steamed fandango.
The hard, muddy floor of low tide,

his stage. I see a clam spit
where he taps his toe. Plunging

my fingers into the cold,
black muck, I wriggle it out:

meal and sacrifice. A ritual-like
rhythm that the dance ignites.

When we steam the clams,
the smell of vinegar

and hops bubbling in the broth
overtakes us. A purifying incense.

Pabst Blue Ribbon for him and since
I am ten, Porto with Ginger Ale.

In the pot the clams flower and pop.
Pelican-like, he tips his head back to let

the fat belly slide down whole. Delicioso.
Body, blood, soul, divinity. Clean-shaven

for Mass. Brown. Azorean. Vovô, to me.
A welcome substitute to the homily: Tap.

Plunge. Smell. Dance. Taste. But not
in a faith, not in a language I knew yet.


Copyright © 2018  M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Published in Naugatuck River Review: A Journal of Narrative Poetry That Sings, Summer/Fall 2018 – Issue 20.

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