Suzanne Wise


I had my faults.
I had my so-called desires.
I remained open to temptation.
I argued with my colleagues.
I did not reach 100 percent
in my assignments. But I was no pry
pole, I was subsidiary. I was aspiring
to cog. I wanted to be a gullible
sheep or a rowdy-dowdy shepherdess
or a shamefaced sheepdog.
When I learned what I had to be,
I sat down on my luggage set
and wept. Then I unpacked. I decorated.
I raised the roof. I flew my kite.
I removed all the skulls and thieves.
I told my wise leaders where to sponge.
I was less than resistant. I was more than bold.
I was beyond naked. I was technicolor.
I was a brilliant butcher, an innovative
streetwalker, a saucy sales manager.
I knew a good stogy, a fine lace teddy.
I lived for love. I erred accordingly.
I assumed the world condoned my stunts.
It’s clearer today. I was misunderstood;
I was in-the-know everyone else wanted
out of. Today there are no traces
of erasures, and no qualms, no real
wrongs. I made judgments for the best
and by the standards of the time.
Now that it’s over I must beg
for attention. I have been robbed
of the limelight that comes with
responsibility. I can only imagine
how hard it must be for you
to believe me, I mean, to hold
blame. I mean, to be you.

Suzanne Wise
Confession is reprinted with permission from The Kingdom of the Subjunctive (Alice James Books, 2000).