2015 PAD – Day 13

The day 13 prompt at Poetic Asides was “write a confession poem.”

Last year when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, I never fretted about it. I just felt they would be able to take care of it with surgery and treatment, and they did. However, I confess I was a little paranoid about today’s colonoscopy. The cancer (although they didn’t think it had spread) and the high dose radiation that followed was a concern when combined with some recent suspicious symptoms I won’t go into here. However, apparently all is well: just the removal of a polyp (which I almost called a “palette”–Diamondqueen’s blog post explains why) plus a couple of other minor things that account for those symptoms I was worried about.

My paranoia, though, isn’t the confession I decided to address:


I had ridden to Saturday night confession
with my father. He waited in a pew
near the confessional door, so he heard
the priest murmuring to me, noted
I was in there longer than most adults.

In the car, he started his inquisition:
What had I told the priest? Had Father
been bawling me out?
I wouldn’t admit the truth, that I’d said
Jesus! in my mind one day
but confessed it as using the Lord’s name in vain.
Father Farrell had lectured me gently, gave me my penance,
and let me go. When Dad continued to grill me,
I finally stated, “We’re not allowed to tell.”

I drew on Sister Anthony’s version
of the sanctity of the confessional: You don’t have to tell
anyone what you confessed, not me, not your classmates.
Even if your parents ask, you don’t have to tell.
The mere mention of a nun carried authority.
Dad let the matter drop.

If I’d been as bold and confrontational at nine
as I was at eighteen, I would have confessed
my confession, then come back with
Did you confess all the times you took
Christ’s name in vain? Did you own up to getting
drunk at the Holy Name Society picnic?
Did you tell the priest you shook your fist
in my mother’s face
while she held my baby brother?

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