Parish School
by Ron Gamache

The sun found the brown apples
beneath the yard's only tree
as shirt-and-tie-boys
back from the haze of summer
flicked hot glances
at blue-jumpered, rope-jumping girls
ripe as harvest under dancing crosses
and bouncing blouses.

Sardined into chairs,
bug-eyed toward squeak-chalk sentences,
Adams and Eves of twelves and thirteens
squirmed with urges;
warming the seeds that incite the serpent.

The morning the classroom clock stuck
Father Cronin ascended the wooden
ladder he'd dragged
like a cross from the cloakroom,
and placed the hands past the spent hours,
jump starting the planet,
and opening the grinding gates of Eden.

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