Monday, January 21, 2008

Prayer for the Evening

Lord, I am six feet under ground,
pressed between here and there.

A thousand bodies pass overhead,
shuffling to and fro.

But like a widow who does not forget,
I am visited by my debtor each day.

He services me in my hospital bed, and leaves with a grin;
wiping his mouth, he promises to see me tomorrow.

My tears dry on my cheek;
if I could move my hands, I might wipe them away.

But my nurse has gone home for the night,
pulling tight the door of my sepulcher.

The darkness heavier than a thousand feet on my chest;
my breath is exhumed, groans forcing their way through the earth.

My chest heaves in the absence of her protection;
I expel bits of myself into my bedpan.

Dread clocks in for the second shift;
I hear her cold steps making the rounds down the corridor.

I lie exhausted and silent in my grave,
staring at the ceiling I wait for morning.

Were there a lock on my door,
I might bolt it, and find peace, and sleep.

But I would miss my bookie and the deals we make,
the little treats that keep me from feeling dead.

How strange to think that it is because of him
that I am here in the first place.

And that it is my debt
that keeps me chained to this bed.

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