the confession that never was

RC deWinter


sultry summer wrapped me
in her pitiless embrace
it fevered me with thoughts of manflesh
naked sweaty
mine to devour

images beyond erotic flickered
through my brain colliding with
the years of deprivation
a trainwreck of desire unfulfilled

suddenly ashamed
i felt the need for absolution
an uncharacteristic urge to spill
collected decades of secret sin
and so sought out a priest

but everything was different
no claustrophobic booth
no sliding panel with an anonymous ear
ready to receive the darkness of the soul

i was admitted to an office light and bright
with nothing of the religious about it
but for one plain wooden cross and a few
generic feelgood posters on the walls

behind a desk there sat a man
and yes he wore the collar
hello i’m father richard come and sit
he gestured to a chair across from his

i felt nothing of the sacred
only for all the world as if
i were applying for a job
or had come to buy insurance

and that at least made sense
for what is this unburdening
but bargaining with god for penance
and one’s proper place in heaven

i couldn’t sit here face to face and spill
the secrets of my soul
this was too much of a salvation burger to chew

so making my excuses
i excused myself from this dry interview
and once outside looked up into
that summer sky where angels with
their flaming swords awaited

it made me think of all the wars
that were never waged and all the ones that were
and my how body was a battlefield of
unforgiven sins and the good intentions
paving that famous road

i saw black rain falling on hiroshima
heads on pikes and piles of corpses
lying in a ditch
there were bodies in the trees
nooses wrapped round bulging necks

they forgave me for reviving them
i’ve never killed or tortured anyone
or stolen anything
with the exception of a few unwary hearts
that truth be told were begging to be stolen

my sins
victimless crimes
tattooed on the skin of my conscience
require no absolution



RC deWinter’s poetry is anthologized in New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2017), Uno: A Poetry Anthology (Verian Thomas, 2002), Cowboys & Cocktails: Poetry from the True Grit Saloon (Brick Street Poetry, April 2019) in print in 2River View, Down in the Dirt, Genre Urban Arts, Meat For Tea: The Valley Review, Pink Panther Magazine, The New York Times and in numerous online literary journals.