The confessional reeks of guilt. What does it matter?

Those making a daily pilgrimage are not lost.

Acts of contrition kneel to the beatitude of saints…

Yet when a sort of salvation’s dangled, you refuse.

You know a ruse when you see it, especially in hindsight—

all that sunlit gilt, blood stained glass didn’t penetrate.


You, a child, tried to believe prayer could penetrate

the cacophony; that divinity entered you as matter

with every Sunday communion wafer, the sight

of the newly absolved genuflecting, their devils lost

momentarily — meek shame suffused with refuse, 

litter scattered along the path pursuing saints. 


When even thought can be sin, what fills the minds of saints?

What acts of cognition bar temptation’s penetration?

Children quickly perceive the ease of lying; they refuse

punishment, befriend little shoulder devils. Laughing matters.

Glee filling accounts with wages of sin, guile lost,

yet lost nights of open-eyed terror, fearing god’s vengeful sight.


Take the twisting pain away. How: pray? Blind faith mocks sight;

what lessons from the blessed lives of tortured saints

can become corporeal? In selflessness, one finds oneself lost…

Mary was a virgin but something had to penetrate

And what of her other children? So hard to matter

when the son of god’s your brother, impossible to refuse.


Alone upon the cross, a man begging why; god refuses

to break his holy silence. Kneeling women seek his sight,

crave grace, recognition from his suffering eyes — to matter —

— to be able to believe —  yet behind veils, they see no saints.

Why must he die? The lessons of redemption will never penetrate;

everyone will be crucified somehow, sin begetting sin, Paradise lost.


Taught that a body’s life ends in death yet souls are never lost,

you seek them everywhere: closets, cloud linings, bins of refuse…

now and then you feel something like grace penetrate,

distant childhood chords chime: you kneel – for insight,

for some way to commune with, be blessed by your personal saints,

for the heralding dawn of a sign that you matter.

Having lost both faith and religion, you refuse to surrender the matter of your soul.

Puzzling, you piece Francis and Sebastian into new parables of saintly sin

through which sunlight penetrates. Stained glass windows kaleidoscope your sight.