For those who instantly knew

what was clear to everyone but me,

head waggers and finger shakers


dropped from heaven with the right genes,

a youngster’s blood pressure,

perfectly formed turds,


for them and those like them

born with the gift

to lecture and counsel:


the seventh grade nun shocked

I would cup the breast of my beloved

in her study hall;


the boy scout leader

predicting my criminal career

for peeing on the sacred rock;


the priest in the confessional

refusing absolution, convinced

I would do it again and again;


the high school coach

who knew more than Patton

about winning;


the professor in sandals and tweed

giving A’s on agreement

with his theories of the universe;


the new West Point graduate

lecturing grimy recruits

about balls;


the oversized business squire,

flush with grandpa’s stash,

quick to rant and rave about work ethic;


the woman dead sure

my anger at her was really

hatred for my mother


Dante, for these and all those of absolute certainty,

please find in your ironic soul

a special circle in hell


Dante Aligheri is the author of “The Divine Comedy,” which includes, “The Inferno,” commonly referred to as “Dante’s Inferno.”