Friday, March 7, 2008

In the Confessional

I discovered early on -- perhaps at age seven or eight --
that I could invent any sins I wanted and assign to them
what seemed like an appropriate number of times committed.
The final sin, at each monthly visit to the terrifying
little closed-door closet with the sliding window,
being the sin of The Fabrication of Sins. It seemed
the logical way of saying a Good Confession,
then fixing it all in the end: make it up,
end with the sin of a lie, say your pennance
and then: Bingo! Forgiven.

What truly confounded me was how one was supposed
to keep a running tally of each sin, and how many times
the evil deed had been committed. No one ever suggested
a Sin Notebook, small enough to carry in one's pocket.
(Not that I would've even for a second ever considered one.)
I had learned, however, the notion of rounding up (and down),
and so with the mathematic skills of a budding poet
I assigned each sin its likely number:
1) talking-back to mother: 11 times
2) fighting with sisters: 7 times
3) disobedience: 4 times
(I never went higher than the number 12,
and I don't know why, except that twelve -- a dozen --
was a very amiable number. Friendly, even. What priest,
upon listening to a child's solemn confession,
could question this perfect tally of misdeeds?)

These are the only sins I can recall. I can say for certain
that I never Coveted My Neighbor's Wife, I never Murdered,
and I never Committed Adultery. I had no choice but to Keep
the Sabbath Holy. And as for False Gods, I worshipped without
any guilt whatsoever:
1) all horses
2) the woods beyond my back yard
3) our apple trees
4) the falling-down barn we abandoned upon the death of my father.
These were my False Gods, I suppose, but they were damn good ones
and I've never regretted my true and absolute love and worship
of each and every one. Oh, Jesus! Yes.


  1. You've inspired me. I'm going to buy a sin notebook today and start keeping track. I'll let others write their sins in it too, anonymously. I hope I can get strangers to confess inside it as well. The notebook will be pocket sized and black.


  2. T, what did you give up for Lent?

  3. Nothing. I've given that Lent thing up.

  4. Oh T., Oh Carol, Oh Mary, Oh no Lent!! God bless us, everyone.

  5. Hey there,

    Do you live/work in the southend? I saw your comment on the Tofu Hunter's post about Fana's Cuisine...

    I just started at my new outpost, Urban Vines, this week & have been really enjoying trying out all the cool ethnic restaurants close to the shop. I'd love to have lunch with you sometime now that I have the freedom to do so. It's folks like you that I'll really miss seeing at Spanish Table.

    PS- I can't believe you had a confessional post too! I really like the image you found.


  6. C. -- I used to live in the it's Redmond, but I do work mon-fri. about a mile from the Seward Park PCC.
    P. and I were devastated to learn that you'd left Spanish Table!!
    Yes -- let's get together sometime!