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The Difference Between Sin and Evil

This is sin.
Carving away the full body
of God.
Whittling down love
into an arrow
fit for use only at a distance,
filed away in its quiver, one among many,
making a fine bouquet.

“Pierce me,” I cry, baring my chest
like a bull’s eye. As if pain is
the way to self. Not knowing that fear,
the Great Diminisher, has made me into his

(Losing its rhythm,
my punctured heart taps its S.O.S.,
“Love, where have you bled to?”)

Sin enacts an inner atrophy.
A mitochondrial disorder. Programmed cell death.
Yellow spikes inside the soul
tearing it to shreds,
disabling the metabolism
of spiritual reproduction.

Evil, however, is not this. Not an accumulation
of sin.
Evil is the space left after empathy has fled.
The totem shadow that creates the illusion of distance.
The lie that clothes the soul.
Sometimes warming it. Making it too comfortable.
The excuses we tend with perfumed hands,
like cut flowers held,
greeting us at the threshold.

The Difference Between Sin and Evil © 2000 by Tobin James Mueller
"Falling Past Love" published by ArtsForge Press.
All rights reserved.