In the Name of Someone

Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko
1 min readFeb 12, 2023


Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

My youthful myths were invented

at my mother’s knee and St. Catherine’s,

a conceived, delivered temple for ghosts

who took of the bread in their ceremony

of the dead and conformed to ceramic

monuments with a list of saints that read

Linus, Cletus, Clement, and Sixtus.

Mea culpa.

My moment in the box was a hot palpitation

long before I became a sinner, so I was

purgatoried and limboed out long before

I met a prophet of mercy and tranquility.

Mea Culpa, mea culpa.

In my thirties came a savior of souls,

a lover of all bits that shined in me —

a man who was of this earth and yet

somewhere else where normalcy

knew no limits of understanding.

He became my source of light,

understanding, and forgiveness,

and I never looked back for ghosts

that haunted my dreams with images

of fire, indulgences, and eternal suffering.

His was the altar where I was cleansed

of my past and present and future sins.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.



Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko

Award-winning educator and published poet: A Consecration of the Wind, Fragmented Roots, and Souls Tilled Like Soil. Website: