Triptych 3: Souls
Children nod heads at the priest as
he instructs them on sin and the soul,
they arrange their faces to radiate
as they might for an explanation
of prime numbers.
One sees a bar of translucent Pears soap,
its wholesome scent envelops him
in Sunday night cleanliness,
a pleasing oval
fitting snuggly in his hand,
he watches himself fling it from him,
dares not ask the question -
what if I lose my soul?
Another sees amber
holds it to the light to examine
the ancient insect trapped at its heart,
fear creeps over her skin -
my original sin is still there
Holy Water and oaths
did not reach it -
can the others tell?
The hungry child tastes his soul,
it is a boiled sweet as bright
as a piece of stained glass,
he runs his tongue over its
smoothness to savour its tang
and wonders with a hopeless pang
could it ever be sucked
into a pure glacier mint?
The children chant the confessional mantra
to the rhythm of the times table
and watch sins they are saving up for Saturday night
dance to the monotone.
The priest pleased that there are no questions
feels - that that went well.