Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Photos used with permission from the Academy of American Poets

Last updated:
September 5, 2018
Lori M. Cameron, editor

Forgiveness – Janet McCann

Forgiveness, the priest said,
was an act of will
and not a love-gush toward your violator,

you decided “I will forgive you”’
you said it
you did it
like the priest himself saying “I absolve you”

ah, to say I forgive
and do it in the saying,
no nights tossing in anger,

no thoughts of revenge,
of the look on her face
as she realized
at last


the sin, the crime
turning to something like
a faded tattoo on your bum,
not even visible without a mirror

there’s no final embrace
where you and the forgiven
are one again,
the trespass undone—

but you forego
you give forth, give for
something, the hard, heavy stone
of your anger

forgiveness a plank
you set in place,
starting to build something else


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