MARY AND THE OLD PRIEST.

The old priest sat
in the dark of the
confessional. A girl
had entered on the
other side and knelt.

A rustle of clothing,
breathing, a cough.
He was prepared for
the list of sins, the
the soft voice verbal

sprouting, the usual
schoolgirl misdemeanours.
Yes my child? He said.
Mary on the other
side stared at the grille,

tried to make out which
was the priest. Bless me
Father she began, then
the list ran. The priest
placed his hands over

his ears. The list was long,
indelicate, touching on
the obscene. He fumbled
with his beads, tried to
make out the voice,

the owner, which girl?
He thought, peering into
the grille, his eyes searching
through the semi dark.
Mary pushed her knees

together; she sensed the
need to pee. She knelt holding
herself in, pushed her hands
between thighs. How long
was the old codger going to be?

She mused. The priest coughed.
Sniffed, tried to discover the
scent. He said the usual words,
about trying to avoid the occasion
of sin, have faith, and so forth

uttered in a strained voice.
He peered hard. The outlined
figure fidgeted, moved from side
to side. Never in his born days
had he. He uttered the absolution,

made a sign of the cross. Then
she was gone. The light there
then not there. A smell of sin?
What was it? No, not urine?

MARY AND THE OLD PRIEST.

Terry Collett

Horsham, United Kingdom

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