confession found in a Motherhouse – a poem by MEH

confession found in a Motherhouse

for Jeanine Hathaway

Are there prayers enough to cushion this quid pro quo religion
I propagate, grace enough within a thousand Hail Marys, once
I’ve seen behind the curtain, read beyond my vows to open cells
and sentences aligned in tightly kerned prose, passed down
world without end? Am I clothed in more than pleated boundaries—
this habit of black and white contentment, where all substitutes
for sex are self-indulgent— where strangers are made intimate
by the memories they engender? Can I remain faithful in a role
I haven’t felt in years: the good wife embracing a sacrament
of silence when I prefer rage to sadness, flight to lying down?
How am I to grow in love for the invisible finger stuck in my pie,
holy intrusions said to be for my own good? But divine retribution
seldom comes in predictable forms, and I have pride enough
to assume humility in all the appropriate ways. Melancholia
strengthens the heart like an antiphon forgotten
the more its response is sung. Perhaps this is the hymn required
in a strange land. in Nomine Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti



MEH is Matthew E. Henry, a Pushcart nominated poet with works appearing or forthcoming in various publications including Amethyst Review, The Anglican Theological Review, The Other Journal, Poetry East, Relief Journal, Rock and Sling, Spiritus, andThe Windhover. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have pursuing a MA in theology and a PhD in education.


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