If I become like you I will write about a roughed grouse, Says the boy, five years old, with a face like a chipmunk Storing up winter browse. We are at his school, where he And the other small mammals have written things for me On bright scraps of paper. He hands me his paper and I’ll Carry it in my wallet the rest of my life. Mister Brian, the Sun is raining all around, another child says to me. It is up And down sun, she says. I want to be a cookie when I’m Your age, says another child. Once we were all monkeys In skirts made from the skins of trees, says a boy with an Icicle tattoo. It’s templorary, he says, explaining it to me. I laugh and he laughs and every kid there starts laughing. I think I am going to fly up gently into the air over a tree From joy, as saints used to float when gripped by ecstasy. That happened to Saint Joseph Cupertino, you remember, Seventy times, it is said, and now I know why: no gravity.
Brian Doyle is editor of Portland magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author of Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies, A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance, and, most recently, Chicago, a novel.