The Prayer of Please
The light decants like something bodily,
like something you should learn, or take,
or speak of frequently to friends.
Sometimes you are filled with one word
through the whole length of your body
dawn to dusk, the terse, exhausted prayer
of please. Not asking for a miracle,
God vamping it up like an old queen.
Not asking for the impossible,
as if to say that life is not impossible.
Just laughter, like a cut wing
barking clumsily through dark halls,
walls sweating like a slave,
or like a woman who suddenly understands
the enormity of her mistake:
the children tithed into oblivion, that tenth vital part
bowing to the irredemptive blade,
the scythe of finite opportunities.
Just freedom -- yes, and faithlessness --
the blind confinement of the cloth deposed,
evil eating you, O!, with its soft mouth.
Not wanting to sound cruel or irresolute
you mention faith, the power of prayer,
the Samoan convert who regrew a leprous member
solely through repetition of the Paternoster.
Pale girls like an audience of shells,
a novice shore -- you long to tell them more,
a warning, what it means to be a wife,
long nights of Jesus slipping in and out the door.
Here is the man at the next desk
walking away from you.
He is like a sound that Dopplers past
in ever-thinning shells,
some crazed and dissipating pheromone.
Now, your tongue will never again
map the secret route
of vein and thrust,
the first lethargic bars of Muzak stilled
by muscle choiring the back of your throat.
You will miss him even when he is here.
How does the exile bear the sun
that warms her own beloved country?
Think of it as gas and godless communism.
Break it down to physics,
and even the swastika was once
just another bloody tool of religion.