The sins
of the last year
I will burn in this flame.

I have set the altar
and the sacrifice waits
—a sufficient supplicant.
My scapegoat, I fold my
sins along with the flock’s
layering all my misdeeds
invisible among the rest
hiding my secrets under
confessions and hope.

I peel away layers of sin
to burn in the flame. Every
pop and sizzle an accusation
for my ears only. I make promise
to be better, holy, pure. I promise
myself and the soft brunette in the
first row that I will not succumb again.
I make promises, and the congregation
and I wash in salt tears and blood and
are renewed. The sacrifice made, new
year resolutions and promises in place
we move forward with good intentions
and pave the road to hell. “This year I
will be better,” I say again, as I follow
next year’s scapegoat out the door.