To ponder what a devastatingly awkward encounter it makes
between a young girl with a busy body and a busier mind
and a holy old man who is probably bored of everyone’s sins.
Candle lights, the sweetly gleaming faces of Saint Anthony,
the sloping porcelain forehead of Mary –
ah, among them, to do penance, to reconcile with God!
(And what a verb — to reconcile! –
as if we are lovers who have quarreled!)
It is Advent and I am waiting for love’s arrival
with prioritized lists that I agonized over.
My mom is always complaining that I don’t call her enough;
I’ll say, Father, I have been neglectful of those i love most.
As for the troubles that have kept me up at night, I’ll say,
Father, I have not been chaste.
The thin Franciscan who heard me, his efficiency
exceeding mine with his hands open over me, performed:
“I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
I said Amen after him –
the economy of Grace flummoxes me every time.
The phone rang soon after; “your daughter is
sinless,” I chirped, “as of 40 minutes ago.”
“The only one in our family,” she said.
Grace Seol / December 2013