The Maynard
Spring 2016

James Valvis

Penmanship in Catholic School

You sat writing page after page
of single letters, cursive l
like a fish standing on its tail,
the S snakes, beheaded lower case i
like a procession of John the Baptists,
t like little crosses waiting for Jesus.
On pads with blue lines big enough
to ride your bike on, with a dotted line
down the center of the road,
you wrote W until the sheet became
an ocean, wrote h until it looked
like a church filled with chairs.
It was more like drawing than writing
and writing would never be this fun again.
Maybe nothing else would either.
Soon you would learn how to string
letters together like a rosary, form words,
explain why Crusaders crusaded
so many times, as if we knew why,
as if we knew anything at all,
other than the comforting v-shape
of Sister Teresa Anna’s breasts,
and O abyss of our priest’s mouth
while he listened during penance.