Leaving the Vatican – a poem by Susan Cossette

Leaving the Vatican

It is Thursday and I am in the Vatican,
because that is what Catholics
should do when in Rome.
 
The cold eyes of male saints
and Christ the Redeemer regard me
with centuries of stony indifference.
 
I am in the Vatican to receive confession,
because that is what Catholics
should do when in Rome.
 
No drapes or doors hide the penitents,
only signs indicating English, Italian, Spanish, among others.
Wooden spool kneelers hurt like hell.
 
Bless me Father for I have sinned.
I married a divorced man.  Then I had an affair. 
I cut my left thumb to perform a Wiccan blood spell, once.
 
This quilt of guilt took decades to sew,
each scarlet thread a part of me.
Pendulum weight, swinging free, seeking equilibrium.
 
I eat lime gelato on the Spanish Steps,
buy overpriced designer clothing at Dolce and Gabanna
and vow to never ever debate the confessor.


Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, she is a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and MothVita Brevis, ONE ARTAs it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin ChicThe Amethyst Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Tuesdays at Curley’s and After the Equinox.  

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