“My only regret is that I wasn’t born somebody else.” Woody Allen
 
 
         Sorry I’m late, you whisper
         as you slip into the room
         with your breath in your fist.
 
         Sorry, sorry, I’m sorry you mumble
         as you step over knees, ankles
         shopping bags to reach your seat.
 
         The Irish are forever saying sorry.
 
         Sorry we say when some stranger
         bumps into us on the street
         sends our parcels flying.
 
         He’s a sorry-looking article
         we say of the wet dog, drunken neighbor
         tight-lipped civil servant.
 
         For all the sins of my past life
         and those I haven’t yet committed
         I am truly and irrefutably sorry.
 
         Sorry to interrupt, sorry to have to tell you
         sorry for your troubles, trials and tribulations
         sorry for living.
 
         Stop apologizing, your sister-in-law keeps telling you
         not realizing that self-deprecation is your Siamese twin
         and not even surgery could separate you now.
 
         Say you’re sorry, we tell our children
         when we catch them acting the maggot
         or I’ll give you something to be sorry about.
 
 
 
 
 

Angela Patten

ANGELA PATTEN is author of two poetry collections, Reliquaries and Still Listening, both published by Salmon Poetry, Ireland. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies and in numerous literary journals, and her poem "Mea Culpa" is featured this site. A native of Dublin, Ireland, she now teaches poetry and creative writing at the University of Vermont in Burlington. She lives in Burlington with her husband, poet Daniel Lusk.

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