My given faith makes no provision
for the solemn ritual of confession.
Sin is washed in some sacred river,
not purged through the intercession
of a stern sacramental forgiver
in an uniquely privileged audition.
But had I been born into yours
however, and bent a quotidian knee
before the Lord’s locum in the dim
penitential pew, my bleak litany
of lapse would lightly skim
the sins of transgressed mores.
There’d be little to scorch the holy ear
by way of lust or vice; I’m far beyond
the fantasies of boys. And hate admits
of no distraction, save what is spawned
in the wormwood culture of its
slow ferment – and this is all it would hear.
Yet, by analogy perhaps it takes
a black confessional to plead a flaw
long history now: a heart that wept
at another’s pain, one that saw
a child scourged; and as lover kept
the memory and the tears for sakes.