A Poem: Confession

the old priest was reminiscing:

nobody comes to confession any more, he said,

and that’s a relief. i always hated confession.

it was like getting stoned with marshmallows.

can you imagine it?

father, forgive me, for i have sinned.

it has been six weeks since my last confession.

i ate meat loaf last friday.

i ate a hot dog a few fridays before that.

i coveted my neighbor’s weight loss

every day.

oh, woman, i said that afternoon, when

i could stand no more:

you are boring me, you are boring yourself,

and you are boring Almighty God.

if you think this is what sin is, the church

has failed you.

your greatest mistake is playing along with our silly game

of meat loaf and hot dogs and self-hatred,

straining out Rhode Island and swallowing Texas whole.

here is your penance, i said:

do not say any hail mary’s. do not say a single our father.

never again, until you have the courage to

discover your sins that most need confessing.

she cried. she felt i was rude. I guess she was right.

i was having a bad day.

she complained about me to the bishop.

after his reprimand, i dropped into the safety

of conformity. and played the meat loaf and marshmallows

game myself, and

ah, there is a sin

worth confessing.




*inspired by a story from richard rohr