The words slide into me like a well-lubricated knife.
“It is a sin against nature—don’t skirt the truth,
You need to be open about it here,
Don’t make me drag it out of you.”
I twist uncomfortably in the dark.
“Have you considered its link to narcissism?”
Read, prayed, felt, thought, wept, fucked;
But he is the physician here, the one holding the gold and silver keys,
Forceps to separate the flesh around the heart.
“Note the striated muscles, if you will,
Which indicate the pull of your desires—
Be quiet, I wasn’t asking you—
Against the skeleton; here, hold still,”
And he forces his hand under the skin, inside me,
Callus rubbing against inner nerve until I scream for him to stop.
“You don’t trust me enough. What a shame.” I came here for forgiveness.
I came, my own accuser before God.
I came in shame.
My skin tacked back to keep the wound secure,
He assigns me one decade of stitches for a penance
And speaks words pure as salt:
“Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace.”
I sit a while in the chapel,
Whether I should take out the tacks
Or leave the inner flesh exposed to the air
So it can grow a callus over the nerve.