On Sundays we composed our own music.
Tapped a nickel against a mailbox,
pounded the wall with the heel of our
palms, and sought a demo-type sound.
Sundays were the sound of a tobacco patch crashing on the tip
of a boot.
The nimbus of gospel & game rejoicing at the feet of laughter
Saint Martin held us down in word if not in deed.
Santa Barbara held us down in word if not in need.
San Lazaro held us down in pocket if not in feed.
On Sundays, number slips trickled from Maxi’s
sleeves, & dream books slept on discount racks.
Sundays were for our best clothes, which meant that every day
Two birds sat on a crucifix, and grandma’s church
hat was damn near auctioned at the Player’s Ball.
Sundays were for sonnets & aunties, bonnets & Bibles, a
mourning dove nesting near your window guard, a rumor
upgraded to libel, making babies to a faint chirp & being
late to your Confirmation.
Everything damn near legal was damn near closed on Sunday.
On Sundays, we had to give up a piece of our burning.
From The Crazy Bunch by Willie Perdomo. Copyright © 2019 by Willie Perdomo. Published by arrangement with Penguin Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.