By Joseph Hesch
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
I don't know how long it's been
since my last confession,
...at least to a priest.
I must have sinned, because I feel
so guilty, like I'm a bad person,
despite what my shrink says.
You told me not to tell, that no one
would believe me and, besides,
what you did was an expression of love.
Yeah, that's what you told me.
Don't you remember, Father? I was eleven
and you asked me to serve the 7:00 o’clock
all alone. You said you thought I was ready.
Just you and me. Partners, you said.
Afterwards, you put your arm
around my shoulder and told me
what a good boy I was.
You asked if I would like to get out of class
to help you do those funerals,
ride to the cemetery with you and
hold your Holy Water wand.
Remember? That's what you called it.
Teaching me what you said a young man
without a dad needed to know.
No, wait, I want you to hear my confession
because I got really bad after you told me
you didn't think I needed you
to "mentor" me anymore. You found a new boy.
You left the parish all of a sudden
when they said you got sick and had to go
to New Mexico to get better.
And now you're back. Are you better?
I wish I could get better.
The doctors tell me it'll take a while
to get well, that the pain and guilt and
confusion may go away after I confront
my problems and realize they weren't really
I was the one who kept coming back,
who did those things you said were okay,
who hurt all those people -- Mom, my girlfriends,
my ex-wife and my kid.
Heads-up, Father, 'cause I've been having
these impure thoughts and I don't want to die
with them on my conscience.
Not that kind of impure. Taking a life impure.
Really? You're absolving me?
Who absolves you?
Is God going to forgive you your sins?
Because I don't.
My name? You mean which one am I?
You'll find out when the cops
come to hose out the confessional
and find the note on my body.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for this sinner
...now and at the hour of my death.
A little late, but I decided to post this lengthy bit of writing I did Saturday night in response to the prompt proffered by Sheila Moore and Kellie Elmore for dVerse Poets Pub's Poetics feature Taboo Subjects: How to be Fearless and Nothing Less. The prompt was to write a poem on a subject without censoring your pen for the sake of status, personal opinion and/or judgment. Not sure why, but this long beast happened. Terrible subject that's gotten closer to the surface of me. Don't wish to represent myself as a survivor. I'm not. But i know a couple, just as i've known (up close) a couple of the perpetrators. Nevertheless, I wrote it and put it away, not editing it, not planning to post it. But I was convinced to do it Monday morning. And now I'll share it with the poets at dVerse's Open Link Night, which I'm hosting this week.