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My Last Confession

Martina Evans

He wasn’t what you’d want to look at -

orange hair sprayed in a thick beard

over his brown robes and in between the toes

of his Franciscan leather sandals -

but he told us boarders

that we were misunderstood angels

and that the nuns didn’t understand him either.

Of course we should be allowed to drink altar wine

and confess openly away from restraints

in the school library.

I thought he was the liberated uncle I never had.

So when he asked me to sit on his lap

I was genuinely sorry that I couldn’t oblige.

I’m too heavy I confessed.

You’re grand he said softly

No matter how often he repeated it.

You’re grand, you’re grand, you’re grand

in the name of God

aren’t I telling you you’re grand?

He was nearly shouting in the end,

but I stayed on my knees.

Bless me father for I have sinned

It was eleven years before I remembered -

and it struck me

as I walked down Charing Cross Road,

that once, for ten minutes in 1977

God just might have been watching over me.


From The Rialto No 65 (Summer 2008)