Meanwhile, Back at Vatican City…

Whistling the “Ave Maria,”
en route from the refectory,
the chorister crosses
himself and the path
of the holy gentleman
who beckons, in waiting
for the satisfaction
of “certain physical needs.”

That gentleman describes,
sotto voce but with hands
resistant to restraint,
his statuesque ideal,
tracing the curving pecs
of Rilke’s Apollonian torso,
resurrecting Signorelli’s
sweating flesh.

Outside the colonnade,
beneath the ornamental pines,
the singer’s rhythmic fingers
drum the telefonino keys,
seeking when and where
in Rome to find
those willing Roman boys
who do
whoever must be done.

But though the gentleman desires
for many men to come,
those who, in fact, arrive
do not suit his practiced taste,
for he has never cared
for those in other uniform
than greasy jeans.

As with so many affairs
of men, the plot
and players both
have come undone:

The chorister has been
sent down much like
a drunken Oxbridge fresher
gone a bit too far in decades past;

the gentleman awaits,
with his unlikely wife,
the formal charges
and impending trial;

the young man who would,
for pay, have helped
his grace to fall
has gone to serve
another member
of the brothers’ sacred band,

for the flesh will come
of the word.
Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper



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