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Prayer Language

A Poem

Published on:
October 8, 2020
Read time:
1 min.
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A buddy asked about the condition of my prayer life.
I had no idea what to tell him. So while my mouth hung
slightly open,
I reviewed my memories of the past 24 hours.

I wrote a thousand words yesterday,
hopeful one would find a friend.

“It’s always OK to ask for help,” I told my son, pouring concrete between
our present and future selves.

My head bobbed in time to a song by The National. I even played
Bm G D A on my air guitar.
Then I flinched when
the singer promised not to ruin

My eyes traced the contours of a Scott Cairns poem,
then closed in worship
to read between the lines.

I challenged every father’s fear of failure to an arm-wrestling match,
then exclaimed “Jesus!”
both an expletive
and appeal for strength.

I stared at the thumbnail of a Rothko painting,
and memorized the blue.

I scrubbed my bare arms and chest
with green soap,
baptizing another day’s shame and watching it
cascade down the drain.

Using soft kisses to plot points, I drew a map of my wife’s collarbone,
then leaned back to examine the legend.

Over the course of the day, I sighed something like 32 times.

“I pray without ceasing,” I told my friend and considered the matter settled. 

Aarik Danielsen
Aarik Danielsen is the arts and music editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Missouri. He is a writer, editor, and curator concerned with the intersection of faith, culture, and human dignity. Follow him on Twitter or read more from Aarik on Facebook.

Cover Image by Ümit Bulut

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