For I Have Sinned

It has been five hundred days,
countless meals and many mountain tops
since my last confession.
I have lusted in my heart
for the woman who sells me my morning coffee.
It’s just the way she stands sometimes
with her back to me and her waist turned just so.
I’d like to take her cheek into the bed of my palm,
tell her what a gift she is; she of the tender smile,
she of the warm offerings. I have coveted
my neighbor’s garden. I love it
and I don’t love it. The symmetry of it all.
The telltale heap of compost that mocks me
from the parking strip, every Tube Rose
preening in the sun, the Gerbera Daisies bobbing
on their brainless stems, and the way she idles at the edge
of beds in her drab green Wellingtons. The serious planning
of grace written all over her face.
Gluttony can’t be helped.
We’ve been over this, we’ve covered my inability
to just say no. Like when I packed my suitcases
full of Balsamico and Grappa, what I didn’t tell you
is that for days before I had eaten truffles
at every meal. I let their heady fungalness permeate.
I let each white sliver melt
on my tongue like the body of Christ.
And there are hours of sloth
like baptisms of guilt. Submerge me,
cover me I say I am a sucker
for the easy move, the natural incline,
any tripping toward entropy.
It’s no use. I know what you’ll prescribe.
I found nine Rosaries in my mother’s bedroom
after she died. Look at her now.
What a set-up; this propensity toward failings.
Lord, thy name is entrapment.
Let’s get on with it.
For God’s sake –
Bless me.

(Appeared in Ascent)