Upon Getting Into
My Sister’s Underwear

I like bitter wine, a sip
here or there between masses

in my altar boy cassock.
It’s as if something’s missing,

my sister’s underwear: white,
Cloroxed, stuffed in the top drawer

who knows when the theft happened
as the Eucharist revealed

itself to shuffling holy,
holy, holy, merciful

and mighty. I used to steal
mulberries before they’d drop

my fingers stained the purple
of iniquity. Bare flesh

and purgatory hover
on the other side of three

Hail Marys at the dinner
table or while on the toilet.

Could be that the priest got drunk
swallowing the leftovers

someone else’s venial
or menial, corpulent

secrets, always a shortage
at mass time and no fess-up.

I go in search of the sweet
fruit, past St. Andrews, the high

school, across the highway. For
hours no one knows where I’ve gone.

It must taste this way, soft to
the skin, bitter to the gums.