Pen to Paper: Prayers

These prayers are to be walked—

soft chalk pathways lined with rosebushes.

How my purpose has caught in the hedgerows,

tangled silver threads among the branches.

How my bare feet learn the grit and sunwarmth.

My face has tied itself to copper moon,

my neck craned sideways into awkward angles,

eyes in anxious contact with the sky.

These prayers are to be sung,

like praise, like hope, like lamentation.

Here there are grey things—

cool mist, gull feathers,

far-off broken loon song.

I am steeped in fallen dust and burning star,

a scattering of soft gold particles,

liquid light pooling in hollows between bones.

You can trace my veins like maplines, like riverways,

blue on soft and curling paper skin.

They are slow stitched ties back to here,

to glen or cliff or Oceanside,

to fourth floor window under yellow, rain-soaked New York sky,

midnight or one,

bones vagrant from sleep, perhaps simply fearful of dreams and stillness.

These prayers are soft loam,

are storm salt sea.

I am just this small child in a blue dress,

fists tight, knuckles dissected by

long nights, by my own desperate fingers.

I am just quiet, or screaming,

or battered by rain,

fabric pulling like a banner at my body.

These prayers are the way the wind tastes,

salt and rain and gentle fear,

slipped easy under my tongue.

This prayer is the one I have been breathing,

the back of brain chant that, long walk up Park Avenue,

has always been keeping me alive.

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