Ashamnu (We Have Trespassed.)

man's fist on his chest
We beat our chests while we renounce our wild ways,
announcing each with the same solemnity and awe
though most would never tempt our dreams,
and others we’d as soon wave away
with only passing interest, an amulet in a museum,
but beyond our modest appetite to piss off
any we’d  likely call the god of forgiveness.
Yet, if the repentant sinner
has not turned up to shul this day–
his tallit still at the dry cleaners,
or fresh gum on his shoe,
or his privates out for repair,
what is there to do, but pray in his place,
our duty, as well, like it or not, the Great One says?
But beat gentle, sinners and you,
you few righteous ones.
Unlike your fist,
the heart can only guess
when it’s liable to stop.
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