They Used to Call Me Father

A poem by Tony Dupre

Photo credit: Flickr CC Paolo Margari

By Tony Dupre


They used to call me Father.
Long hours in small boxes,
listening to the transgressions of strangers,
listening intently.

I’d say the same things, a droning sound;
“Say three Hail Marys and beg for forgiveness.”
then absolve them of their sins. It became
like the constant hum of rain to me; empty.

He took her from me in September.
The crashing of metal frames and of glass windows,
rubber tire treads burned into the face of the road.
Her body restless, still and serene in mortality.

The blue uniformed men came to our home;
their badges shined in the moonlight.
They brought revelations of her passing,
revelations of children without a mother.

The chapters He wrote had given no solace.
What had seemed like law was now lawless,
every truth a lie, and then I thus
doubted that which I had considered flawless.

The opulent Church was a prison.
I received confessions in solitary confinement
and the pews held hundred of staring eyes,
ready for an empty sermon by a broken priest.
I never returned and I
miserable man that is I
came to the revelation that it was not I that had lost faith in God;
but it was God who had lost faith in me.

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