Enter the dark privacy of a cubicle
sit on waxed wood and meditate
on your many sins.
A trefoil-patterned screen snicks open.
In the gloom, a perforated silhouette
turns toward you,
murmurs “Yes my child”.
You peer through
dim light, mumble –
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned”.
Recount your litany of transgressions
against your mother, father. sister, brother, best friend,
a neighbour, the whole world.
Small sins and large;
it doesn’t matter in what order you list them.
Remember to confess
all you have forgotten and neglected.
These wrongdoings need to be
turned up from under that dark rock, your soul.
Exposed to the light of scrutiny
your guilty secrets crawl out
and are washed away
in the waters of forgiveness.
“Ego te absolvo”- intones the priest.
For penance he demands you
circuit the Stations of the Cross,
at least three times.
You dutifully do your laps
around the church
dip your hand in Holy Water,
make the Sign of the Cross,
and push out into bright sunlight
ready to sin again.
G M, April 18, 2005