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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.


Originally appeared in jubilat. Copyright © 2010 by Dawn Lundy Martin. Used by permission of the author.


Dawn Lundy Martin

Dawn Lundy Martin is author of four books of poetry including most recently, Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press 2018), winner of the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Award. She is the Toi Derricotte Chair in English and Director of the Center for African American Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Date Published: 2010-01-01

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