The National Catholic Review

In college I phoned you in spurts from
campus pay phones like confessional booths.

Your phone number was my introductory prayer
memorized and dialed so rapidly that I had to

say it all at once to remember any one part of it.
On my way to the dining hall or having skipped

a class, you always picked up no matter
the time of day as if you were waiting

patiently behind the screen even though
you knew my face and voice, and always

seemed so pleased to hear it and listen on
as I spilled sins that probably didn’t even

register on a Richter scale though I believed they
moved the world. Even if you were not

the one I needed forgiveness from, after half-assing
some paper or blowing off a friend, no absolution

ever came without you. I hung up, blessed and resolved
to be a bit stronger and to sin no more.

Heather Angell is a campus minister at a Boston area high school and a graduate student at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.

Comments

Sarah Angell | 5/21/2011 - 5:42pm
I'm pretty sure America magazine picked this as their ONLY poem for this issue because it is a thoughtful and painfully honest account of what so many young people go through in college.  This poem is an intimate account of the struggle to become who you are and the people that you count on along the way.  Well done Heather! 
LARRY | 5/20/2011 - 2:02pm
Heather Angell typed a nice 10-line paragraph; divided it into eighteen shorter lines, all about equal in length; inserted a line-space between every two lines whether the thought was finished or not; it looked like a poem; she gave it a title. AMERICA published it as a poem.

I did like what you wrote, Heather.

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