All day, we loitered at the throat of the penny arcade to hear how the fisherman's cast had taken the eye of Vilas Puchomsky, a pain radiating down to the sexual curve. Girls who had been prom queens, corsages of gallica roses with crowning pink buds pinned to our blouses, teetered on lives of uncloistered want to hear how the hook had entered the pulp, tearing the flesh like a litchi nut with the force of a swift and ready conversion. At dusk, the fly-speckled marquee flickered with inconstant love; and our boys suckled long-necked colas and pilsners, and we asked them to hug us all the tighter while the nuns sang from the hill, "Le Dieu Qui Nous Aime Bien," for it seemed that the boy's name had called his fate into the world, the line cutting through the air like the wing of a hawk, his face buried in a shirt of bruised muslin. And later, over the cracked and rutted road home, his story came to us like a voice speaking from behind a steel grate, a blue light hovering above the lake's teal horizon. One day at school, he removed his eye and touched us, tiered like the blessed and the damned in the bleachers behind the parochial school, the glass eye sucking our arms where lips might have gone, a touch like benediction-- a taste of terror with some pleasure in it, a pleasure already sown with remorse and the seeds of turning away. But at night, we prayed to a god with a foraging heart, a god with a silvering face, rippling his luminous skin-- the line gilt along the line's trajectory, the plummet like shot-- thinking how grace must enter the body like this as we slipped out under the nameless bowl of stars to feel the hunger of our own darkness: the sweep and whisper of the line, the suck and gape of the eyeless socket, the god who reels us in.
From Waiting for the Paraclete by Lisa Goett. Copyright © 2002 by Lisa Goett. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston. All rights reserved.