The Foundling Wheel

Not a Catholic, I have not confessed.
I do not sit in hushed cubicles
scented with humility and contrition. No. But
I have sinned in spades, if my rampant
dark thoughts are deserving of muttered
Forgive me Fathers, fingertips filed
down to raw as they slide over
my length of regrets like rosary
beads made of wire barbs and burrs.

How could I even speak the words?
How could I form my lips around words
that would rise like bile in my throat, taste
like poison, choke like gristle and bone?
How could I put voice to words that trip
around my love looking to land, like wasps
drawn to water? Here it is: Maybe

I would have left you on the doorstep
of a church, nestled behind the sturdy shape
of the Virgin Mary standing sentry
in her cemented arch. Maybe I would have
left you in the hush of a foundling wheel.
A simple turn of the crank to deliver you,
My own foundling, into the cold arms
of the church’s solid stone walls.

I confess. I confess. I confess.
What could possibly be the proper penance
for such thoughts, even if believed
in dark days of grief and growing fear
that life as I knew it was simply that,
life as I knew it. And from here on in,
life, life with my son, would be lived
with no hope,
no heaven,
no commandments,
no bibles,
no parables,
no proof,
no bedtime prayers,
no ease,
no forgiveness.

Yet through the window of my mind’s confessional–
complete with hairshirt and cutting edge–
comes, as it does, light and air and sound,
and perhaps possibility. I hear your silent
voice like a visitation. Not God’s, but yours:
Just faith, Mama, you say. Have faith.
Have faith in us, if nothing else, because:
We are the Universe.
We are Everything.
We are guilt and forgiveness,
sadness and joy,
past and future,
dread and love.

Absolution arrives in the beat
of your heart, and the knowledge that
I could not have abandoned you because
hope has not yet abandoned us.

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