Ode to Hypocrisy

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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He haunts the confessional every day of the week,
Inaudibly murmuring long series of outrageous deeds,
Evading retribution by distilling poison into his pastor's ears.

He censors his dreams, tattooing his scalp with Scriptural creeds,
Relieving his conscience of rummaging amongst matutinal debaucheries,
Barricading all exits through his subconscious' gates.

By Jove! He does not swear or take the Lord's name in vain.
An evasive word can pass for a pledge, or should we say a bait!
His word of honor, a threadbare knot, chafed and frayed by erosive trade.

His mouth runs dry with blowing bubbles at his rosary beads.
He hums the Psalms since words crucify themselves at his hallowed seat,
With addiction to the blood of Christ, savoring his insobriety with belief.

He performs his ablutions with what John baptized the meek.
It is imported on his behalf in stained glass, bottled and chic,
With rituals wreathed by incense that crests his house like a mountain in heat.

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Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Since 1996, she has been lecturing in Syria. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various magazines.


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