Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re- infolding, entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by minutest fractions the water's downdrafts and upswirls, the dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into itself (it has those layers) a real current though mostly invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing motion that forces change-- this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself, also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go. I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never. It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.
From Never by Jorie Graham, published by HarperCollins. Copyright © 2002 by Jorie Graham. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
Jorie Graham was born in New York City on May 9, 1950, the daughter of a journalist and a sculptor.
Date Published: 2002-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/prayer