when I was a child, I prayed nightly

by Susan Shaw Sailer

but life intervened, call it streets
blown away after pressure cooker

bomb blasts, children’s bloated
bellies in refugee camps, dead trees
hung with blankets for tents

in war as many dead in accidents

as enemy fire              in World War II
my father built battleships

a child, I prayed         call it
a niece’s death at 16, cancer,
the universe at 13.8 billion years,

dark energy expanding the cosmos

its edge 47 billion light years away;
call it weariness, resources, nature

accreted, gone (bog matter to peat
to coal to mountain tops blown off,
family farms fracked for gas)

eyesight dimmed, worry for

a friend’s grandchild, cancer
at 10 months, but something in me

still wants to pray, to pray into
the abyss where love may be
though love is only, probably, here

Copyright 2016, Susan Shaw Sailer

Recent poems of Susan Shaw Sailer have appeared or will shortly appear in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Sugared Water, and Naugatuck River Review. She published a chapbook, COAL (2012), a book, Ship of Light (2013), and has a second book forthcoming, The God of  Roundabouts.

Prior Contents Next