Prayer: A Poem

Oh god give me organ that smells like carpet,
a thousand cotton-treading feet and eyes
that can’t stay open, vestments and breathing
and my mother’s hand, mother’s hand, black
mother, white
mother, hum low
and copper-taste,
gum, chewed
and tears I don’t understand –

give me god give me
god arthritic, spider-like fingers,
wiry hairs, give me safety give me
safety give me belief
or death
or repentance

piano teeth punched out, lining floors,
stolen gold, the reason we lock our church doors,
god’s gifts given before I thought to ask

black mary, black infant emperor, his empire a black bleeding
mess – give me god, me god, god, bind all the ribbons, repair
the tights that could barely contain those adolescent thighs,
send grass and violin and dirt into the night, southern strange and sound

under every red taillight is just white, naked, moon – give me my son’s hand,
and no sanctuary, a church we cannot enter
just because we feel called

*September 2016

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