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A Hundred Gourds 5:1 December 2015

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Donna Buck - USA


Life is Hell


It's not easy being a Catholic girl. Until the First Communion, it's all just memorizing the Baltimore catechism. Easy call-and-response stuff. The commandments, the seven deadly sins and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. I know that little blue book backwards and forwards. But after First Communion, I'm in for it – officially a sinner, the full Monty, due to the age of reason rule. And those venial/mortal sin demarcations. Baiting my brother and blaming him for my misdemeanors – venial. Missing Sunday mass – mortal. And the slippery slopes, like stealing a pop from the commissary.

But now in puberty – it's hell. I mean, the dirty thoughts roll through my head like a ticker tape and what's a girl with new boobs to do? I don't act on these musings; can't anyway with a watchdog brother. But the thoughts alone are mortal sins.

So it's Saturday at confession and I ask the priest to blessmefatherforIhavesinned. I relay the ongoing problem again, the recurring thoughts. I keep thinking about a boy I want to kiss and no, we haven't yet but if he touches me up there I'd like that too but I hope I'll have the presence of mind to say no and yes I know better and yes I know that would be an occasion of sin, father.

loves me            loves me not
hoping to finish
on the plus side
flower roulette
is not for the faint of heart

Then I pay my dues after he tells me to goandsinnomore. Fifteen Our Fathers and a complement of Hail Marys and some Glory Bes. I polish these off, light a few votive candles for extra insurance. Hope I can make it until next Saturday until I can scoot in for another week's absolution. Goandsinnomore. Yeah, right. A Catholic girl's life is hell.

sunlight
through the stained glass
dona nobis pacem
peace be with us
for awhile


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