S’lichot

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Excuuuuse me!

Steve Martin

If I could count all the times I’ve sinned
just while writing this sentence, I’d have
invented mathematics.

Oh, forgive me, ignored punctuation
Oh, forgive me, unsignalled lane crossings
Oh, forgive me invented words like unsignalled

If I could admit to the pre-meditation of
my sins, the lottery numbers and I would
have kissed on the lips.

Oh, forgive me, the oven left on hours after
dinner was pulled out.
Gas doesn’t grow on trees.
The air conditioning doesn’t need this.
Oh, forgive me, for hiding sins against humans
behind sins against grammar.
Oh, forgive me, body ignored, pushups ignored
fruit ignored, for the love of cheese.

If I could genuinely appreciate all the times
I’ve been forgiven for my sins, a Nobel prize
would live in my kitchen.

Oh, forgive me, envy of fame,
I’ve been pre-signing autographs for
people who might someday like me.
Oh, forgive me, man at the Syracuse 7-Eleven
in nineteen seventy something, who caught me
with unpaid-for candy bar. I did know my
mother’s first name. I just didn’t want to tell you.
Oh, forgive me, for not using the word stolen.

If I could live up to the ideals I purport to admire
my sins would all have college funds and
wouldn’t hesitate to apply themselves.

Oh, forgive me, mercy I don’t deserve.
Everyone go ahead of me in the line.
You just have that one thing, and I can’t
even pronounce the items in my cart.
I’m going to the end of the line.
I’m getting out of the line altogether.
I’m signing a petition to ban my future
privilege of being in the line.

If I could just stay in line, you wouldn’t
be reading this. There’d be nothing to excuse.
Excuse me. Please excuse me.
You know why.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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