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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

The Prayers

When I asked the world to open me,
I did not know the price.
When I wrote that two-word prayer in the sand,
I did not know loss was the key,
devastation the hinge,
trust was the dissolution
of the idea of a door.
When I asked the world to open me,
I could never have said yes to what came next.
Perhaps I imagined the waves
knew only how to carry me.
I did not imagine they would also pull me under.
When I asked the world to open me,
I had not imagined drowning
was the way to reach the shore.
The waves of sorrow dragged me down
with their tides of unthinkable loss.
The currents emptied my pockets
and stripped me of my ideas.
I was rolled and eroded
and washed up on the sand
like driftwood—softened.
I sprawled there and wept,
astonished to still be alive.
It is not easy to continue to pray this way.
Open me.
And yet it is the truest prayer I know.
The other truest prayer,
though sometimes it frightens me,
is Thank you.

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Sometimes, too certain I know what love is,
I miss love.
It’s like thinking water is waves,
not seeing water is also the depths of ocean,
the muscle of river, the body, the air,
ice, snow, fog, clouds, mist.
Sometimes, longing to hear certain words,
I neglect to hear the words that are spoken.
Or craving a certain touch, I disregard
all other touch, and my skin believes it is starving.
There is beauty beyond beauty, love beyond love,
opening beyond opening, an apple inside apple.
Let my prayer be I don’t know.
Let me find the door inside the door,
the glimmer inside the glimmer,
the human inside this woman.
The god inside of god.

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One Unusual Delivery Service

tying my prayer
to a passing cloud—
come wind

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On the day
I most needed
to remember
how to pray,
a prayer shawl
arrived in the mail.
I wrapped myself in it
and felt in the trinity stitch
the singing of my name,
felt the colors tether me
to my own heart.
Sometimes when we
feel most alone,
the world conspires
through the goodness
of others to remind us
who we are,
remind us that now
is the right moment
to wrap ourselves
in the kind of beauty
no fear can extinguish,
now is the right moment
to feel how,
though we are alone,
love floats
around our shoulders
soft and so warm.


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In Orbit


 
 
Count the one beautiful blue and green planet.
Count it again.
Say “home,” then marvel at the taste of tears.
Notice how no borders matter from here.
Remember how important they feel
when standing on a border. Once
you dreamt of being alone. Of being
far away from parking lots and grocery store lines
and men with guns and violent conviction.
Now you dream of touching someone else,
of breathing in the scent of garden dirt,
of hearing a voice without static, of lying down
in a bed, held by your own sweet gravity.
What you would do to taste a tree-ripened peach.
Give up on counting stars. Draw lines between them,
creating your own constellations:
The open hand. The river gorge. The crooked evergreen.
A semi-automatic rifle, which you re-constellate
into a small bouquet of lilies. Consider forgiveness.
Wonder how long it will take before it feels authentic.
Circling has taught you how things come around.
Remember? There was a time you didn’t think
you knew how to pray.
 

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This Difficult Day

Today the prayer is words
I can’t yet find,

words that flit away
like spring juncos, like chickadees.

Today the prayer I wish for
is not the prayer that finds me—

less like the perfume of a fully bloomed flower
more like the dank and fusty scent of spring.

Some days when I forget how to pray,
if I listen with my whole body,

the world reminds me how what is used up, spent
is also a vessel for the holy,

as dry leaves become a nest
as bare branches hold the sunrise.

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Amen

Oh green, I miss you,

miss how you used

to flourish in me,

no matter how brittle,

how brown I’d become.

I didn’t know then

I took you for granted.

I miss your softness,

your tenderness,

all the promise inside you,

the sunlight you carry

in your veins.

Some days I remember

what it is to be green.

Some days, when it’s gray,

I tell myself green is possible again.

Some days, when the rain

still doesn’t fall,

I practice how to break.

Some days, I swear I’ll find a way

to become green again,

no matter how unlikely,

how parched this field.

Somedays, though I long since

forgot how to pray,

the prayers find me anyway

and my empty hands

will not come down.

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You need a rainstorm.
            —Paula Lepp


I need a rainstorm
on the inside, the kind
that relentlessly pours,

the kind that rearranges
everything, leaves nothing
untouched. I need a deluge

that drowns out any voices
that would offer easy answers.
I need a cloudburst to flood

everything I think I know,
that carries me until I, too, am current.
Have I gotten so dry inside,

so brittle and sure?
Give me a gulley washer,
the kind that scours

and remakes its path as it flows.
I want it, and yet
when I feel the first drops

I scramble for the umbrella,
as if it would do any good.
There it is, petrichor—

earthy fragrance of change.
The big rain will come when it comes.
There will be no stopping it then.

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 inspired by a conversation with Craig Childs

Let it come, says the voice,

a voice not quite mine,

and somehow more my voice

than any other.

Let it come.

 

And by let, it means,

Open your hands,

 

And by it, it means

Anything.

 

And by come, it means,

You be still. Enough running,

enough fighting, enough

pushing away.

Meet the world that’s here.

 

I close my eyes,

and an invisible cage lifts.

Let it come, says the voice,

and I move my lips with it

until the prayer

is my own.

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Ephemeral Prayer

 

In five billion years, the hydrogen fuel

at the core of the sun will be spent.

Forces of gravity will take over,

compressing the core. The rest of the sun

will expand, vaporizing the earth.

I’ve studied the science, read the texts.

In the meantime, I live in a canyon

with rock walls one-hundred-fifty million years old—

and sometimes, like this morning,

despite rumors of doom,

the forces of gravity take over

and I fall on the floor laughing—

a riotous squealing and braying,

tears leaking, chest heaving,

grateful to big time for this very moment

when I am almost seamlessly joined with my shadow.

It rolls with me on the floor as I hoot and giggle,

praying in the language I know best.

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