An Honest Prayer

Friday, July 15, 2016

I don’t know why I close my eyes and lace
 my fingers like the seam of a baseball just
to whisper between dark palms what I have

 screamed all day. The black cross dangling
down my sternum is faded on the edges, not
 from prayer but wear beneath shirts grown

tight from too much eating. What comes across
 my plate I can only stomach so much, and night
is when I confess to clasped hands what I wish

 someone would ask me. Yes, there are people I
no longer speak to who still cause me fire; yes, there’s
 a hole in my wallet I cannot seem to stitch;

yes, there's a grandchild I owe my parents still
 not conceived. In the cold I grow a beard as
if it’s my job, think of the Bible, speculate about

 if Genesis had just been it and we didn’t worry
about doing all the rest. There’s a person in the clouds
 my prayers pass right through, and I think

these words are less spirit, more radio-wave,
 dialogue of electron and magnet. Hard to bat
away these thoughts of missing old friends

 and shitty lovers despite their shittiness. A
poet tells me mourning is meditation, but what zen
 is there in a gaunt heart not even my blood wants

to flow back to? Maybe attachment is a red herring, or
 a slow hand job I can’t tell if I want to keep
going or to end. Yes, I believe loss is an intimacy

 strong enough to shake legs and roll tongues
and eyes deep into skulls. So, here’s a prayer method:
 first, base pleas in something concrete; second,

wait for the urgency to harden; third, think of hope as a way
 to push in a literal sense. Tonight, I pray for a
home to never run from, a warmth that is more shadow

 than stubborn shade, for paper cuts on that lover’s
shitty finger, but that they only hurt for so long—because I
 don’t know how to pray in absolutes, or in a sequence

that leads to enlightenment or renaissance or
 brimstone, but I know that with every swing
of the tongue over my teeth I’m getting closer.

Friday, July 15, 2016