A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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Dane Cervine’s latest book is a collection of poems and essays titled How Therapists Dance. His teenage son, Gabe Kittle-Cervine, has recently discovered he’s a spoken-word poet and can be seen on YouTube reciting his work.
I picture him standing in the church superintendent’s office, / the grim man threatening to fire my father from his pastorship / in the small town of Live Oak if he continued to attend / the interdenominational prayer group that spoke in tongues.
We were sweeping his father’s driveway, / contemplating whether kissing a guy / would be anything like kissing a girl.
Washington, D.C., after a conference: / we head into the urban night / led by the jive-talking white ghetto boy / raised in black foster homes, / bent on showing us the town.
At first it isn’t so bad — a taste of ecstasy, / the world covered in honey. Even snails / scrawl the names of buddhas with their silvery trails.
At the edge of town in Merced, California, sits a pale building whose sign says, “The Gun Runner.” A shooting range and retail outlet for rifles, pistols, and any kind of bullet you might need, it is owned and operated by Sandy, a friend of my family’s and the only true psychic I know. Her husband, Gary, whom I’ve never met, helps her run the place. I haven’t seen Sandy for years, not since my father died and she came to the funeral to tell my mother, my siblings, and me what Dad wanted her to communicate: that he had passed over and was filled with love for us and awe at life’s immensity and regret over whatever hurt his depression might have caused everyone. We trusted Sandy and always welcomed her glimpses into the “other side.”