Absolution – a poem by John Short



In the obscure district where we live,
my friends have been playing dice
for days, now they’re broke, repentant.
One is Serbian and the other Greek;
both desiring to expunge transgressions.

This morning, with map and water, 
they ride a train some miles up north 
and there locate the path that winds
upwards through dry hills to the church
of the saint who faced a martyr’s death.

Lips and fingers will smudge icons,
prayers rising like candlelit incense.
Later they’ll return with sparkling souls
and consciences pure as fresh bread
then next month do it all over again.

John Short lives near Liverpool again after a previous life in southern Europe. He's appeared most recently in Pennine Platform, Flights e-Journal, Foxglove Journal, Culture Matters and The Bosporus Review. His fourth collection In Search of a Subject is due from Cerasus Press in 2023.

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