THE MILKY WAY
When he is sure his parents are asleep he climbs out his bedroom window and walks out to the fence beside the big pasture. He slips under the barbed wire and lies in the grass. He imagines his mother yelling, you’re going to get chiggers. Their home is far enough away from the city that the sky is dark enough to show the Milky Way. All those stars pummel him with their grandeur, but he’s still unsatisfied.
He wants to have a vision to seal his existence, probably of the Virgin Mary since she does most appearances. Jesus would be too much to handle considering all the ways he is not a good boy. He is disobeying by lying in the pasture staring up at the sky, doing his best to be worthy of a vision. He concentrates to project a winning kind of humility, something Bernadette of Lourdes possessed and those kids at Fatima, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.
Maybe you had to be a girl, maybe having a pecker disqualifies him, makes him impure. He doesn’t want to think about purity lying in the soft grass, the smell of clover a temptation to remember how nice it feels being impure and how confusing. The message the adults are so insistent on teaching him is clear. Pleasure is a sin. What is confusing about that?
Probably even thinking about touching himself disqualifies him. Sure enough, no vision. Not even a falling star. He is sleepy and considers going back to bed. Before he does he might as well let his hands do what they are so eager to do, and blast himself off into his own private space wild with constellations.