My Last Confession
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
confess openly away from restraints
in the 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? –
and he was nearly shouting in the end.
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 might have been watching over me.
Taken from Facing the Public by Martina Evans, published by Anvil Press Poetry in 2009