Inside the Confessional by Patricia Markert

By the darkened booth,
a line would form for the nice priest
who gave easy penances. Three Hail Marys,
that was it, we were off scot free,
safe from the licking flames of Hell.
Monsignor McDowell never had a line.
He said our tongues would turn to worms
if we kept lying to our little brother
about where we hid our candy.
We held our breath and lied about our sins.
Once inside, we were invisible,
hidden from the world, just us
and the plaited rush partition, which let
our sins into the priest and his forgiveness
fly out to us on the other side.
We listened for the sound of the shift
of the slot.  Then we would begin
to list our wickedness. The penance lifted
the grit and washed the tiny flecks of mud.
All clean, we were free to go out and sin again.


2 thoughts on “Inside the Confessional by Patricia Markert

  1. Pingback: The Greenwich Village Literary Review, Spring 2014 Vol. I, No. 1 | The Greenwich Village Literary Review

  2. Morty Sklar

    Thanks for your insider view of of confession. The first I’d heard of Hail Marys had to do with a football game where the losing team had a few seconds before the end of the game to score, and threw a huge toss of the ball toward the goal post hoping somebody would catch it and score.



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