Published in Eureka Street, an on-line journal, Vol. 25, No. 10, 25 May 2015,
The queue before the Mass dwindles,
the Dark Box opens empty.
Ready am I, a-confession-to-make
Fumbling the “Bless me Father I have sinned” bit,
envying the confidence of penitents quick
to the point, rolling off instances of pride, gluttony,
betrayal, illicit sex. Sex, mostly, you would expect,
our Church is preoccupied with that.
Lust for moral destruction is the problem face,
pared by some measure atoning grace.
I have mortally sinned many times
whisper chimed, never getting the words off pat.
The confessional exchange begins apace
in a dimly lit, enclosed space,
where the priest’s barely perceptible face is seen
via grille and sliding screen.
Alone at fast, facing my past
in a divided cabinet, a sanctuary,
where sinners in privacy
seek forgiveness, penance, and contrition.
How odd that pride and inhibition
cause resistance to confronting behaviour,
improvement of our inner nature,
through intercession with the Creator.
There is relief, quietly sharing transgressions,
unburdening guilty oppression
buoyed by principles to respect,
and the discretion you expect.