Nathan Graziano

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The Sin Box

As an early-adolescent, and a Catholic,
sin sat like a brick of Bibles on my groin,
and my access to the parish priest
to absolve my myriad sins was limited.
My confessions were strictly limited
to twice a year where I knelt in front
of a screen and purged my sordid soul.
I had no means of cleansing myself of sin
in the interims between my confessions,
so I wrote my sins in a blank notebook
and when I filled an entire page, I’d rip
it out and fold the sheet of paper
into a square and place it inside a shoebox
I kept on a shelf in the closet of my bedroom.

My Sin Box filled fast with my impurities:
the depraved thoughts of sex, my many deceits,
every minor transgression I needed to confess.
And one day I decided it was time to purge
the Sin Box so I dumped the folded papers
into a bowl with water and flour and Vaseline
and made a papier-mâché Tyrannosaurs Rex 
rising up from my guilt and sadness and sins.
You should’ve heard that motherfucker roar.


Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife. A high school teacher, he’s the author of nine books of fiction and poetry. Fly Like The Seagull, his most recent work of fiction, was released by Luchador Press in 2020. Graziano also writes a column for Manchester Ink Link and was named the 2020 Columnist of Year by the New Hampshire Press Association. For more information, visit his website: