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Saturday, October 10, 2015


by Janet Leahy

SANTIAGO, Chile — Many watched in disbelief: There he was, Pope Francis, calling people in Osorno, a city in southern Chile, “dumb” for protesting against a bishop accused of being complicit in clerical sexual abuse. “The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof. . . . Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this,” the pope said. —NY Times, October 7, 2015

As if he could watch the men
in church vestments and not remember
the first commandment of childhood
“Do Not Tell.”

As if seeing the men in long robes
would not open the dark pit of memory
the threat “Do Not Tell”
nightmares of abuse still haunt him.

As if he would not try to erase the memories
with a final forgetting
the haunting abuse never recedes
the therapist’s bridge difficult to travel.

A final forgetting looms
an escape from the commandment of childhood
the therapist’s footbridge difficult to travel
the watchman walks.

Janet Leahy lives in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  She works with several critique groups in the area and attends a poetry class facilitated by Dr. Margaret Rozga at UW Waukesha. Her poems are published in anthologies, journals, and appear at TheNewVerse.News and other on-line poetry sites.  She has two collections of poetry and is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.