Carol Edwards

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What does it mean to confess our sins?
Bring them to God again and again,
“sorry, this is a thing I did,”
toss it at Him, “handle that wouldya,”
and disappear, guilty feelings cleared
off we go on our way;

or groveling on our knees, scraped raw
from all the gravel we spread
underneath, offset our transgressions
with equal self-flagellation
because to simply be forgiven
is too easy, begets flippancy.

We cannot be perfect yet we
are commanded to be—not humanly
perfect, but divinely—obviously
impossible, yet the mandate remains.
How much despair is invited in
every time we present our sin
for forgiveness and in our minds add, “Again”?

I have no answer for this.
The shame I feel over repeat offenses
committed every minute
outweighs any joy from pardon,
lost battles nothing to celebrate,
preferring they were hidden
out of sight, almost out of mind
coffin piled high with distractions
to keep the corpse trapped inside;

yet like a zombie it emerges,
undaunted punches through
to ravage flesh and brain, consume
what it can, infection spread
until I’m the walking dead
raging to be whole again,

though one thought clings
as the plague seeps through:
“I am faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse.
Call to Me even a billion times,
and your leprous places I’ll purify,
hold you close to Me
in the darkness of your insanity.”

“Again,” read by Carol Edwards.

Carol Edwards is a northern California native transplanted to southern Arizona. She lives and works in relative seclusion with her books, plants, and pets (+ husband). She enjoys a coffee addiction and raising her succulent army. Her work has recently appeared in Open Skies Quarterly and POETiCA REViEW. Instagram @practicallypoetical.

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Photo Credit: “Confessioni” by Francesca Papa,

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