"Sinners" and "Camp"


we had to go to church
every Sunday
grandma screamed and hollered
and shooed us
out the door
to the car
my sister drove
to the church
of brown brick
and a steeple
not as tall as the
factory smokestack
an iron ring
knocked against wood
to let us in,
dip our fingers into the
holy water fountain,
kneel and
enter the pew,
my sister walked out
during mass
to stand on the corner
and smoke cigarettes,
she was going to Hell
I was sure, so was
my Uncle
at home,
still in bed;
he and sister’s souls black
as soot,
they would burn together
in the flaming pit.




wish I had gone to art camp
instead of football,
five of us guys
from the team
in the woods of New Hampshire
some college campus,
I never did get the name of,
we had water-fights in the dorm
and I had to hide under the bed
to avoid being caught;
I found a paperback book in the
closet, CANDY
and read it while
holding the book in one hand
and listening for my roommates,
or whomever…
Someone set up a meeting with girls
from another camp,
my cousin did the talking
he was good at that,
I was too bashful and
became tongue-tied around girls--
the next day during scrimmage
I intercepted a pass
and coach gave me an “attaboy”
plus a pat on the back--
something he would not have done
had I shown him a work of art.



Wayne F. Burke

Wayne F Burke's poetry, short stories, and non-fiction, has been widely published online and in print. He is the author of eight published full-length poetry collections and one published collection of short stories. He lives in the Green Mountain State, Vermont (USA).


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Friday, November 1, 2019 - 09:41