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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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We learned it early in Catholic schools
Six and seven year olds, barely housebroken

Barely able to write our names, we sat there
Examining our consciences, dissecting situations

We could barely describe, cutting through layer
Upon layer of our day, learned the names of sins

Some easy ones like swearing and disobeying
And those other vaguer ones, the sixth and ninth

Commandments offered a full array of impurities
That the nuns alluded to but never explained –

Early years we struggled to find things to confess
Then we moved on, became so many of the things

They told us about, lost so much of the believing
Part, lived harder lives than they taught us about

But the training hung on, became part of our way
Of viewing our roles, connection to the things we do

A grade school conscience always whispering, chiding
Reminding us that we never will be that person

We were supposed to be, and that’s why we try to edit
All the things we did and all the things we failed to do.

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J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Pyrokinection, Record, Yellow Chair Review, Eye on life Magazine, and Haikuniverse.


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