This piece was commissioned for the 2015 World Voices Festival event “Prayer and Meditation,” for which writers and artists were asked to write an original prayer for our time and read it live onstage.


I’m not trying to reach some divine
ear. Imagine. Where once
was mercy trash now crunches
like leaves under stars
if only there were still stars.
They understood my chatter
as prayer, this air going nowhere
in the strange wind of starlessness.
If some universal frequency synced to me,
like I was mic’d, I’d surely flub
my lines, mumble, stutter, seem
disrespectful and syntactically unstable.
I divide my time between a fuzzy,
word-averse kinetic sadness
and being stunned into silence,
as a world-view. I don’t ask for mercy
anymore, don’t hang around that empty
office like a good kid who gets in trouble
with all the love she gives to get.
But shouldn’t I ask for something?
Don’t I need what’s out there?
Of course the universe is not a store.
It’s more like a franchise, with nothing
for sale but the idea of no real ownership,
an idea which—hilariously—belongs
to the universe.
In short, there are no choices, only choices
within choices. I cannot choose
a star out of the enormous sky
without a voice inside me chiming:
there’s no one who can give you that,
child, nobody’s to give. Like you’re
nobody’s, child, only child of your own
lonely childhood, but you keep
wishing someone would listen
and not just tell you to hush,
to go to sleep, to dream as if dreaming
can show you what you want,
what words get in exchange
for telling on us, what we are,
even what we think we don’t think we are.
I can’t make up my mind.
How can I make up someone to read it?
Out of all those open books
left outside, who but the wind turns
any of those pages?
The wind.
It knows me. I believe it does. 



Read the full anthology of prayers here.