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BranchesA copy

Tonight, the moon is thin and round
like a communion wafer.
I would put it on my tongue
if I could reach it.
Then I would think of all my sins
and feel forgiven.

This desire, I know,
harks back to childhood,
to catechism, to confession,
to a dark pinewood box of a closet
with a grated window that slid open
and shut with the deftness of a guillotine,

to the shadowy robed figure behind,
who would listen, cough,
ask a sly question or two,
then say

10 hail marys, 10 our fathers;
whatever sin you admitted to,
the penance was oddly the same.
Then it was onto your knees,
staring at the skeletal remains of a man,
bloody and limp on a cross,
your savior.

Afterward, you got
a pasty wafer on your tongue,
perhaps a taste of wine.

That’s what it took to feel anew
back then.

But tonight the moon,
so pure and crisp and all aglow,
would somehow do much better.
And the scrawl of tree branches,
layered black against the brightness,
does nothing to convince me otherwise.
I would reach right through,
and even if I broke off
just a flake of light,
just a taste of forgiveness,
I know I would feel