In first grade Santiago Snalgross kissed me in the reading corner and gave me a skipping stone, so I told him I would love him forever and I did. Past the mountain laurel fencing in the schoolyard, past blacktop fairness to fourth grade when his family moved north and free, to fourth grade when authorities found Antwon's body hanging from a tree in his front yard and I asked my mama how he got there and she prayed the rosary over my head and wept. Holy Mother hold my daughter. Our Father let our sons be fathers. Wed mind to body and entwine with river reed amen.
Santiago was found held by the water in eternal baptism in the bottom of a Tennessee lake. Past blacktop fairness, past the intersection of youth and understanding, to where I stand on the shore and pray. Sacred southern land of milk and honeys bless this stone. And from the wrist of a first grade girl it sings across the surface I am the son of the servant.