Absolution

everyone in this
defiled city
participates
in the dance of death

Not a blood sacrifice
on the altar of conquest;
not a dutiful chore
checked off with the groceries
and the collection plate,
and the towel-folding;
nor a stipulation,
nor a bargaining chip.

No.
Not a tool.

The vessel of our worship,
the unseen conversation
of tactile grace in the dance electric-

God damn you
and the way your back arches
when you pin up your hair;
I cannot get your stain
out of my soul.

I would trace my fingertips over your scars like a murderer’s over rosary beads.

You know better-
lightning can strike the same place twice;
shall I show you?

When
I have to come up for air,
or my hand is saying “come here”;
when
your forehead is touching the ground,
or you are knelt with hands folded-

Is that not all a kind of prayer?
Will we make one another beg
for forgiveness?
What is there to forgive? Shadows?

Shadows have no pulse.

So,
tell me…
how long has it been
since your last confession?

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