Does your prayer cross the street?
Or is it like the skin of the serpent
Scratched against a stick or sharp stone?
Does your prayer shred? Has your prayer
Ever heard a man cry, or touched a woman’s fur?
No prayer for the smashed teeth of
Ai Wei Wei held against his will?
I saw your prayer lying feeble in a book
And it could not climb to my lips
Your prayer has been in your pocket too long
To care for the shape of a mouth.
I have been in your prayers a long time
Lying in the hospice, staring at the telephone
I have been in your prayers waiting
For the simple touch of your tongue
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.