A man I admire, a good man, asked me
Are you a nun, too? and I thought of all
the mornings, what a question to ask! It
was a natural one, given that we
share an acquaintance, a nun I told him
we both know. But on this morning I laughed
too loudly with an energy I could
not explain to this gently probing man,
and when he turned to search my eyes with his
I nearly told him everything: how I
couldn’t eat, how the fluttering of this
unhappy bird in my chest was catching
my breath, how you can believe so firmly
you are one person only to find out
you’re someone else entirely. This fine
man, a poet, might have found something still
to love in me, might have told me this is
the world, that we are all sinners. For the
dark gift that means I can never love what
I hold in my hands, already, would he
have asked God’s forgiveness on my behalf?
The truth is I’ve had more lovers than friends.
Read Leona Sevick’s “Confession” in the print edition of The Arkansas International 6.
Leona Sevick’s poems appear in The Journal, Crab Orchard Review, The Normal School, and elsewhere. Her work also appears in The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. Sevick is the 2017 Press 53 Poetry Award Winner for Lion Brothers, her first full-length collection, and she was named a 2018 Tennessee Williams Scholar for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.