Waiting in line for my turn
in Saturday confession,
Still young enough
To not conceive of why the young woman in the last pew
I stared and stared
at her hunched figure, shoulders heaving,
her quiet rasps obliterating the stillness.
By the time I entered
The dark pocket of the confessional
My curiosity could not be contained,
And even before Father Blackwell
had slid open the wooden panel between us,
I blurted it out, brazen.
Why is that lady so sad, Father?
His response was clipped, dismissive.
She has not been forgiven.
More importantly, he demanded,
What was it I needed forgiveness for this week passed?
When I emerged,
The woman had gone.
I never saw her again.
But I remember the child
I was that day,
The one who could not yet know
A grief so profound.
A heart so broken.
A life never