"Ring them bells...when innocence dies."
- Bob Dylan
Prepare to be made a desolation.
Care packages of cookies cease.
Instructions on notecards turn illegible.
News becomes nothing but advertising.
Butterflies turn into caterpillars.
The catacombs empty themselves.
Two lonely masks hang on walls.
All emails to the elders return to sender.
Powerful people dictate their desires.
Nothing and something weave together.
Expressed needs suffer bad timing.
Surprises wrestle in conversations.
A day off for devotion never arrives.
The last angel carries the last prayer.
If one injuncts another to pray without ceasing,
rather than taking offense at being told what to do
raise a glass and say, Cheers. Consider yourself
a fiber artist weaving threads with every painting
you hang on your walls; if the colors clash
the red chicken will peel itself off the blue paint
and begin to strut around the kitchen daring
anyone to pick it up and place the bird
back on its canvas roost. Some might view
this strange occurrence as a meal
in the manner of all who hunger
for the strippings from easy marks,
simple do-gooders and granola eaters;
ogrish brutes will always be brutes.
Tonight, there will be those hoping to rest
safely on the frozen ground to get a glimpse
of Jupiter and Mars kissing in the starlight,
each amazed that distance, and crossing distance,
means everything to a universe creating
more and more space between itself
in every lonesome moment.
so as not
How many eyes closed in prayer this year?
How many heads bowed over clasped hands?
How many fell to their knees, even when it hurt?
How many raised hands and tentative lifts of the arms?
How many "Give us" prayers were asked this year?
How many "Let us" prayers?
How many "Make us" prayers?
How many requests that began, "Jesus, we just"?
How many more started, "God, if you just..."?
How many turns, returns and promises lifted to the heavens?
How many beads clicked moving on to the next prayer request?
How many sorrows, sadnesses and sicknesses placed in the hands of God?
How many prayers to find a way for a blessing to be given?
How many more prayers for blessings to be received?
How many prayers were obligatory, routine and ritualed?
How many virus cells were eradicated by prayer?
How many prayers heard by prayer-voyuers?
How many prayers were surrounded by the smoke of incense?
How many daughters would still be alive if their fathers
had said their bedtime prayers?
How many prayers sung over glowing grandfathers?
How many times worse would life have been if no prayers were said?
How many years did prayer add to lives in 2020?
How many prayers cried for just one more year?
How many prayers said in unison?
How many angels carried all the prayers to heaven?
Were there enough?