“Holy” by Curtis Rutherford

Editor’s note: “Holy” was nominated for the 2010/11 Best of the Net Awards.

The Vidor moon is big and white
and resentful of autumn’s long nights.
It controls the tide and watches high
school football at Pirate Stadium where
as team captain I first collided with boys
of different colors.  It was my duty to
defend the ground between us with strange
anger (we were the smallest team in 20-4A
football, good Christian boys).  When I screamed
the crowd in Pirate Stadium screamed back
and I would toss my helmet up by the chin-strap
and jog to the warm field house to undress
and urinate.  I really did live nights like this.
I really did feel safe in the field house filled
with all that Vidor mouth.  The pipes
in the rafters pumped cruelty and more and the
energy lingers over the state’s heaviest corner—
here— on this spot where beach water spills
resent and the Baptist wind and I have walked
out of the devil’s throat.  It smelled like catfish.
I have held puberty over my head like a starter-pistol
and walked into a baptismal and when I did
my feet slid in the water without a sound, as if
I were already gone.

Curtis Rutherford received his B.A. in English from New Mexico State University and is currently a Creative Writing M.F.A. candidate at the University of Alabama.  He has served as assistant poetry editor for both Black Warrior Review and Puerto Del Sol.  He is from Vidor, Texas.