Prayer Severing the Cycle
My love is as ancient as my blood.
And of course my blood is still mine
because a woman, sweetened black
with good song, pulled me from the river
like an axe pulled back from the bark.
I learned love, first, as scar.
And of course my love is only mine
because I found the nerve to say it is.
Ha, My love is mine.
But was first my mother’s. Not the how
but the why. But was first her mother’s.
Not the how but the why.
Not the how; Not the how; Not the how;
Not the how; Not the how; Not the how.
I am bored with this beat. I seek
a different dance toward death.
Lord, listen up. Lean in:
I crave a love that happens as sweetly
as it was named. If love must be swung,
let it soften. Not split.
Copyright © 2019 by Donte Collins. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 8, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“The details aren’t important to the prayer. What locks the reader out also welcomes them closer. This prayer is living—one of protection but also transformation. Prayer is the will’s essay, the spirit’s attempt.”
Donte Collins received the 2016 Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award for his poem “what the dead know by heart.”
Date Published: 2019-02-08
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/prayer-severing-cycle