by Bill Tremblay


by Bill Tremblay



It goes in stages: first Paige Hill

my legs like pistons through sludge

up past Sacred Heart cemetery

where afternoons vanish

cracking pig nuts under wild grape vines

draped over its limbs, my body arced

as the south bridge over the Quinebaug.


Clemens Hill is another stage

my legs are never in shape enough to conquer.

I push the blue Columbia bike

my uncle Bill gave me for my birthday

with a kringing bell, spritelier than the grave bongs

of Notre Dame’s bell tower. With a bike

I can go anywhere and be back for supper.


Near the crest, I stop to admire

the pastures’ yellow galaxy of dandelions.

Six milk cows lie carefree like girls at a picnic.

A silver milk truck grinds uphill.

The sky grows black as birches

peppered with crows who tilt their beaks,

making love-croaks as they squawk,

rehearsing for a Saturday cartoon show

where they chomp ears of corn

then snap their beaks back

with a ding like typewriters.

My brow cools.


Hail pops on tarmac, the sound of Gene Kelley

singin’, dancin’ in the rain, ka-lick, ka-lack,

ka-lickety klick, ka-lock, splash, splash, splash, splash!

The one beam of light breaking through is

Debbie Reynolds’ smile, the flash of her legs

as she spins in her pleated skirt and falls on the sofa

between Donald O’Connor and Kelley.

I sit under an oak and doze.


The trees are blue, the laurel purple.

The top of her bonnet is as tall as his jaw.

They stop, this couple, turn to each other,

fall like raindrops onto a carpet of leaves,

struggling with their clothes.

Her nipples rise against her chemise.

His pointer finger

traces her curves. She unbuttons

his trousers. She arcs toward him.


Something hot and wet speeds

like a nighthawk at the fork of my body.

A roar splits the sky.

I open my eyes, sure I’ll see God.

No, a Cessna banking toward the airport.

No one will know what happened

but my conscience will

if I examine it like St. Ignatius Loyola.

It must be a sin, this seizure

that bent a forest this way, then that, inside me.

Where is the girl God wants me to love?