A girl was not among the many
gifts I received that year or
in the years following.
Too bad really, less likely
to be put in a home that way.
The whistle blows, arms lower.
I am first in line.
The car counts cars. Loses count.
I will be late for the day, the air of the cubicle
laced with recycling:
little packages, mail cart, break
room, four types of sugar not sugar.
But none of them anthrax.
Things are inspected, gone through too
many times, purse for the keys.
Before the train came, this wanted
to be a new day. But the coal cars are the same
coal cars. Thirty years ago, the exact models
my sons set black around the silver tree.
Further, I roll down
the window to stunt the fog.
The cold smells like train and pine. I will be raped
in the nursing home, by someone covering my face.
is to take what is handed down.
The thought that I could, am
expected to, loosen my corset
and expel my useless breath to
Prayer is for tulips.
Don’t know how to pray. My own
inexperience vast, unshepherded. No
denying current desire though.
Tulips are prayer.
Imagine: the bulb is placed in a foreign bed
by hands—who knows whose hands.
A shoot then unfurls
upwards, a great bobbing
of its single head—and still
the tulip bud is tighter, and
angrier, than a clitoris.
Here is where prayer
happens. What else turns transplant, alien,
infant—so closed there’s no way in, no inside
were there way—
into a cup of sun?
Prayer is like
the disembowelment of faith.
I am a small small woman, here
there—small as fists.
I dismiss blessings, and flowers.
I try to summon a prayer: what is utmost in me—
If right asking is bloom, I am sullen, bud.
Impossibly close to birth as God you know death
can be. Open me, if you can forgive my proud