Fireworks garnet the cold fall night
& fans storm the streets of Philadelphia
with flares and airhorns—it’s the first
World Series win in almost three decades
& Brad “Lights Out” Lidge kneels on the mound
after the final out of his perfect-save season
while I jump around my living room carpet
wearing my official on-field cap
& holler like I’ve made it into heaven—
I’m fourteen, about to start high school
after a big move up north
because of my parents ’ lengthy divorce,
& I’m holding my own tryouts daily
for a new male role model, & since Lidge
is both an athlete and a Catholic, he’s in
beside my old neighbor John who taught me
how to grip a golf club and also stood in
as sponsor for my recent Confirmation,
itself a lights-out miracle since that night
a thunderstorm hewed the night jade
& the lights in the church gave out,
leaving the bishop a blue electric ghost
holding his battery-lit neon candle
as we filed down the aisle to meet
his oiled thumb on our foreheads,
our long line so shadowed I could barely
make out Alex’s skirt-line in front of me,
though I would have given my share
of the Holy Spirit to have a dark little
confessional off to the side with her,
but again I was fourteen so I never told her this,
& if it’s just God’s style to shadow
a big moment like this, to send His wind
and His water, startle and serenade
on stained-glass scenes of His life, so too
was it just like Him that as the bishop raised
the host in the air and said do this

in remembrance of me, right then
the light returned, breaking first
above the polished brass Tabernacle,
then filling the whole sanctuary,
filling even me, so in need those days
of a win, of something I couldn’t believe,
something to get down on my knees for
and look up at the sky and breathe.



T. Dallas Saylor