Honest Prayer

Lyric Essay

The mouth, with its tongue and teeth, is too small for prayer. The mind, even smaller—a sieve losing words the way a son loses his father’s fortune.

The hands, raised or pressed together, also are too small, unable to hold prayer without snuffing the wick, without spilling all the lamp’s oil.

The arms are too small, though they’ve cradled children in the dark hours, though they’ve carried furniture from apartment to house, city to city.

Likewise, the legs with the thigh’s bulk, the shin’s long arrow, and the twin stones of the calf beneath the skin, are too small for prayer, to bear the weight of all confessed and unconfessed longing.

The lungs are too small, the ribs, the stomach, the whole of the body too weak to keep from buckling under the weight of a life, to keep the bones from crying out.

So the body kneels and the lips glisten the mind’s petition into the bedroom’s blue light, until finally the body empties of all but air and by breathing becomes an honest prayer.

Related Topics:  Prayer

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