Fathom Mag
Image Board

Prayer Language

A Poem

Published on:
October 8, 2020
Read time:
1 min.
Share this article:

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
Everything.

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

Sign Up Today

You don’t have to miss anything. We send out weekly notifications when we publish a new issue. We like you—so we won’t sell your info to Google or the NSA or even advertisers, they probably already have it anyway.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Next story