The true church never died,

I have found a sect ancient beyond ancestry:

itinerant priestesses in ramshackle booths

who listen through gauzy walls

and tally your actions.

In a tiny city stacked on terraces

the citizens come each morning to confess,

divulging their blessings as well as their sins.

Absolution and indulgences

cost the same copper coin.

Holy mothers and sisters and daughters

deal out acts of contrition like cards

to make the penitent sweat out

every shameful thing sucking at their souls

clamped on like lampreys.

or they dole out states of grace-

get-out-of-jail-free cards

to reward the generous and joyous;

three-day passes to let them slip

the leash of duty for a while.

Never let them find you

sloughing off your penance

or stinting on your gusto.

They will find out

and they will tell everyone.

From lowest to highest, every citizen

in a tiny city stacked on terraces

starts their day feeling

calm and confident,

clean slate gleaming.

Even their deepest history 

records no wars.




Kevin Danahy has been writing poems to amuse himself for years; this year he wants to share some poems with others. He lives in Burlington VT.  Twitter: @kbdanahy

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