Monday, August 31, 2009


Not that I am the authority or anything
but we were talking about it
and I said that yes, I think I know a thing or two
about confessional poetry
about slipping out from behind the curtain,
clothed in only my hands,
pink and voyeuristic
but I don’t pretend to be an authority.

No those Kings and Queens
and sleepy Princes, have their thrones
in the canon. They have turned themselves
inside out.
I’m just saying that I have at time,
ripped out the still beating heart
of me
and my sisters,
my parents,
my lovers
and thrown it down for you to see.
I have smeared the blood on the table top.
I have traced my name in the mud and crushed snail shells.
I have sat naked and shivering, hating all that flesh
in the bare board Catholic confessional
and whispered my secrets through the mesh
to all of you, dressed in priest’s white
with thick fingers and clean clipped nails.

And here is tonight’s:

Last night,
after talking about new jeans,
and my father’s health
and my parents vacation
and movies and weather
and everything was winding down
the phone hot against the side of my face
when she said,
“Honey are you still getting mammograms?
You know you should still get them.
I’m going tomorrow. When was your last one?”

and I wonder why now,
at the end does this have to come up?
There will never be an end to the things we are forced to talk about.

So I tell her “yes, of course,”
even though it is a lie and I tell her I have a fall appointment,
even though I don’t
because I want to get off the phone
because I have nothing left to say about this
and because I also want to tell her what she wants to hear
so that she can believe we can hold back this tidal wave
of deterioration by doing the things we are supposed to do.
As if by locking the front door and making sure the range is off
before we go to bed, we will all be sure to wake up into the next day.

I tell her “yes” also because I am tired
and I want to get back to my glass of wine
my book
and my Sunday night.

Forgive me,
for I have sinned.

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