A Man


“Forgive me Lord for I have sinned,”

said the man. A faded blue coat

hung loosely over his arm.

The church was musty and desolate;

the man desperate and afraid.

He had not been in a church since he was a kid–

he had not wanted to return.

 

He entered the confession box. A rat

scampered out but he didn’t notice.

He brushed off the seat, noticed the dirt

that now covered his hand, and sat down.

“Forgive my heart and my mind. Forgive me

for this wasted life. If I only knew…”

He paused and coughed harshly,

 

“Forgive me for Katie, it shouldn’t have been.

Forgive me for cruelness–then and now and always.

Forgive me for my bastardization,

Forgive me for my masturbation.

I’m only human.

Not some worldly power

bent on mass annihilation.

Not some animal

who eats, shits, and sleeps.

I’m only human.”

 

He fumbled in his coat for an old handkerchief

to brush away the tears

that began to streak down his cheeks.

 

“No one told me what to believe.

No one told me that life was like this.

Where were You, when I needed help?

Where were You, all-powerful, all-good,

Almighty God,

when my wife died in labor with my son,

who died two months later, in my arms?

Where were You, in my loneliness.

Where are You now? I stand on your doorstep,

my mortality no longer a fiction to me.”

 

Half expecting an answer, the man waits.

But there never was an answer.

 

A smile creeps across the man’s face,

Tears still streaming from his eyes,

“I suppose I’ll never know.

I’m only human.”

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