A Prayer in Two Thousand Seventeen
God, I am sick and my blood counts low.
I sleep ten hours, and still feel slow.
My son pretends he’s fine, worries always,
says he’ll never be happy once I die.
I talk to you, God, the way I was taught,
vary the words so you don’t get bored.
Despite others’ groaned and shouted prayers,
don’t forget my son, who hates aloneness.
Icons hang from my wall, are propped on shelves.
Sometimes I take the gold and dark wood
image of your mother and hold her against my skin.
I ask her, protect my son, who loses his jackets.
I know that the world’s great harm—
bombings, street shootings, earthquakes—
provoke your immediate alarm.
Still, don’t ignore a child who fears growing mad.
You who love the poor and the orphan,
punish our sins: our registration lists, lethal
injections, deportations. I will forgive you
my early death. But my son, Lord, my son.
After Israel Emiot