From “Perspective is Supposed to Yield Clarity”

She said, I wish I prayed, I would pray for you. And,

we all wanted a shape of prayer in our brains, taking over

instead of it chomping on itself. Stupid little elf. God has

never come to me. We surrender in the teeming utterance

of materials soaked with sentences already made in air

and by machines. The country says Freedom, crushed under

its own dream weight. I did not make up this song. Design

Within Reach is having a “Work from home sale.” The coming

apart, the giant laceration across the sky, we all feel it. Look

at the fire, look at it, like all the rage of all the smallest beings.

More by Dawn Lundy Martin

Disciplines [If there is prayer, there is a mother kneeling]

If there is prayer, there is a mother kneeling, hands folded to a private sign. We recognize it. If there is a mother kneeling, hands a tent, she is praying or she is crying or crying and praying at the same time. Although it is recognized, the signals of it, it is private and no one knows, perhaps not even she, the content of the prayer, and perhaps its object. If there is a mother praying, she is on her kneels over some object, as one does not often pray in the middle of the room. One prays at the window or over the bed, the head bent slightly up or down, the eyes open or closed. This is a prayer for prayers, you know, a wanting something equal to a prayer, even though I am not a mother.

Disciplines [This is how much fortuitiveness weighs]

This is how much fortuitiveness weighs. Measure in dirt. Of vices and other habits. Of leaving a house at 3 am and drawn as would any tether and here is your lock, my dear. I want to say this plainly: it is only when I am in a woman’s arms that my body is not a threat. Neither crosses nor damnation. Fix nor flutter. Hangs here, this balance, and one opens the car door and drives along the river where it said a crossing might happen. Had happened. Many times. Sticklers will say, not here. There are no crossings here. But, there the I is, reflection and delivered, on the other side. Like hams, I think,
holding on to what was.

Disciplines [Near adust. Caves. Closings]

Near adust. Caves. Closings. Relentlessly the body leaves the bed. Does things. A day is merry and eager for prosperity. It dings dings the bell in its own head. The ritual of masking the breasts in heavy fabric, of covering the legs and feet. A face from the mirror says, I am pretty, I am pretty. Skin of opening, meant for opening. A sex in training. Trimmed, fastidious. Damp reasoning. Yet, adherence. Mask the breasts. Mark the skin. You are not from here, are you? Part tissue. What does it feel like? It feels like everything else. It must be different from some other thing. No. This is what a woman's body is. An effort in covering or not covering. A way toward exits.

Related Poems

On Being Told Prayer Is a Crutch

So what if it is?
Clear days, I understand it,
molecules scatter azure

light from an in-his-feelings-
sun,  that’s why
the sky is blue. We know

too much, or want to.
Not the Bible, but the i-
Phone tells us so.

Devotion doesn’t work
that way, but it does. Not
the path, per se, for me

though, a trail back to grace-
fully living with one’s light
shone toward higher

axioms than I
can presently see.
It’s the immediacy

of a just-thought
thought, thundering
into a device

of my own decided making,
prayer. You know it as Siri.
I call it instant intimacy.

wishing

razor blades did not

slash rainbows

hands did not

steal light from the dawn

prayers spoken in tongues did not

dissolve into silk pocket linings

air could be bartered

for fire

war could reinvent itself

as a prayer of silence

Ivory Black [BLACK breathing BLACK at the window]

BLACK breathing BLACK at the window
Simultaneous
The interior eye     Opposite watching's touch
In what is black white
Is by accident      The eye detaches
As it slips from itself
What is black       Like sky
 

In its scream        Glassed
Spins           In a straight line
Draws along     In a spiral

Explodes
     Isn't it your dream to be visible?
A luster spins      Atop another
Grows           In buds
        Pierces
The change of season comes
In clarities                Lifts
Airborne                High and low
Like the light      In our touch
    Angelizes
Burnished
           The dark light that skies in whites
And in prayer the refrain repeats
Between nude walls                  Hangs
Window against the emanation:       Open