The Forgiveness Project — after Szymborska


by Kathleen Balma


Under what conditions should one admit wrongdoing?
Is confessing in a dream as good as in a booth?
Who goes first?
Are there age restrictions?
Do the dead get a shot?

Who runs the project and for how long?
Will it be necessary to make a reservation or appointment,
or is it first come first serve?
Is there a suggestion box?  A gift registry?
Will I need a witness?

When the apology part is over,
should all spilled secrets be tagged and catalogued?
Accidents, sins, mistakes, peccadilloes . . .
who decides what’s what?
Do records remain sealed?

Do poems count as admissions of guilt?  Do paintings?
If so, do they have to be narrative?
Are confessional poems by victims filed under Allegations during
pax audits and
quarrel inventories?
Is the Forgiveness Librarian discrete?
Is she happy?

After the project, will a pardon be a privilege, a rite of passage, or both?
Is there a prize for the best entry?
Do animals participate?  Do plants?
Will there be a new holiday to mark the end of resentment?
Will there be an “I Forgave Today” sticker at the exit?