On Class Picture Day
at Nativity School
boys reek of Butch Wax and Vitalis.
White arrow shirts and salt n pepper corduroys
stiffen like cardboard from laundry starch.
Girls smell of Toni Home Permanents
and Five-and-Dime store perfumes.
White blouses button to their Adam's apple
and accordion woolen skirts cover their knees.
Sister Mary Agony
stares behind her wire-rim spectacles
as the class slump into their seats.
come up here.'
shovels his fists into his pockets
and swaggers with buckled boots
to the classroom stage.
'Give me your comb please.'
She grips his Wildroot-caked comb
with a Kleenex
and wrinkles her nose as she slides the comb
through his Elvis Presley hair
transforming him into Saint Dominic Savio.
Doug blubbers down the aisle
then sinks into his seat.
'Row one line up
and go to the multi-purpose room.'
They march down the corridor.
whips out his comb
and reshapes his hair
back to Elvis.