First Holy Communion – Mary Leonard

At seven I prepared for this day
as if for a wedding.
Mom sewed an organdy dress
with blue trim.
I memorized prayers, for Sister Ann,
recited them after Sunday lunch.
Dad snored, Mom fingered her rosary,
I stuttered,
knew that if I had one word
wrong, I’d have to stay after school.
Could not cross Junction Ave. alone.

Must go to Confession
Before Sunday. Carol said
Do not go to Monsignor,
he’ll make you say the rosary,
go to Father Reagan.”

Wrote my list: disobeyed my parents,
14 times, killed 24 ants, Adultery twice.
I didn’t want to exaggerate.
Father Reagan’s line too long.
I’d be first for Monsignor.
When I confessed adultery,
He laughed so hard I thought he’d die
I ran out, no penance for me.
Tore up my list, tossed the scraps into the trash,
Next week I’ll confess to sloth.

Mary Leonard is an Associate of the Institute of Writing and Thinking at Bard College.
She has published four chapbooks and another will be published in May. She lives in Kingston, NY.