Frank Cavano’s most recent poem to appear here was I Make Myself the Center of Things (October 2014).
By Frank Cavano
Serving Benediction with Roy.
My first time. He has been
serving for about a year. He
tells me it’s easy. Just carry
the candle and do what he does.
We leave the sacristy with the
priest. Genuflecting in front of
the altar, we separate and go to
our kneeling pads. Roy puts
down his lighted candle. So do I.
I’m thinking this is a piece of cake.
Just a few more minutes and it’s
over. We’ll genuflect again and
leave. But Roy has started twitching.
He is shaking his head from left to
right and back again. A strange
noise is coming from his throat.
What’s going on? Is he ill or is
he trying to get my attention?
I smell something burning. Probably
the incense, I tell myself. But Roy
won’t leave me alone. He is tapping
his forehead over and over again. The
look on his face is one of great fear.
Automatically, my fingers reach for
my forehead. They feel the heat of
the candle. Looking up, I see a
forelock of hair in the candle’s flame.
I move the candle away from me.
Roy’s seizure is over and he is
smiling. The priest is smiling.
The nuns in the first two rows
cannot stop their laughing.
Over the years, when I am
getting too big for my pants,
I’ll always have this memory.
Somebody say “Deo Gratias.”