Here is today’s April PAD Challenge prompt from Writer’s Digest poetry editor Robert Lee Brewer:
“For today’s prompt, there are actually two options, because it’s Tuesday, which means a “Two for Tuesday” prompt. They are:
Write an apology poem, or…
Write an unapologetic poem.
Your choice. You can be sorry–or not. Or write about someone who is sorry–or not.”
This prompt was difficult for me. My mind kept returning to “This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams, which is a great poem, but I didn’t want to mimic or parody it. Eventually, I started thinking about times people apologize but don’t really mean it. I see the obvious version of this every day when I ask my children to apologize to each other for various minor harms, but adults do this, too. Sometimes it is more cleverly executed, sometimes not (see: Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” apology). Apologies, so often, are less about regret or repentance than they are about making peace.
Father, forgive me, for I have sinned
he began. The voice beyond echoed
disappointment at each admission.
Then the penance. Does the voice know
he will never say his rosary?