Mea culpa

Bart Wolffe


This cathedral, upstairs where the bell tower should be,

A garret, a cell, a hunchback stooped over a book,

Not a bible but black anyhow. A book of clouds

Resonating like smoke in swirled images,

Imagination a solitary priest, illicit as a broken god

Worshipped in rebellion, secretly. A stroked cat

Contemplates the flames of candles where the wind

Is disturbed by the breath of incantation

Or is it a lament? Something is not right, not quite,

Something out of place. Even the moon beyond

Seems a hook, a question mark.

What broods in sackcloth and beats itself

To break a habit like a curtain inhabited by a ghost?

The cowled monk howls unheard inside his head

Like the hooded hooligan in the street below at midnight,

Undetected, both hide their desires beneath their cloaks.

Is that a dagger I see before me? No, its stab is only…

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