Crooked Prayer ~ April Lindner




 Please don’t give me, Lord, the thing I covet:

silence silken as a candleflame,

or blank and pregnant as the moon

on which I might imagine any face

or none.  Resist my wish

for cool white walls, windows flung open,

the afternoon hush edged with birdsong. 

Give me again and again

this rattle of wind-spun trashcans,

the schoolbus with its screechy brakes,

two dogs poised at the sill to listen

and bay back their urgent wisdom.

Teach me to see unmade beds,

fruit torn into and abandoned,

pith and rind, as hungers

satisfied, to look in cracks

for what I step, unseeing, over:

rice grains, spilled beads, a lost needle, a burr,

and dust balls spun of nothing but nostalgia

of shed skin for a body, any body.