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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, January 18, 2016.
About this Poem 

“A while ago I had a dream in which I was starving, bleeding, naked, and running from something. I ran for what felt like years, I was so afraid of the thing behind me. Near the end of the dream I collapsed in the middle of a dark and freezing neighborhood whose roads were lined with dead-bolted houses. I had run my legs down to the nubs… all I had left were these horror-show upper thighs. I dragged myself to multiple front doors in the neighborhood and knocked, but no one answered. In the last scene of the dream, I saw a light turn on in one little house. Before I even made it to the front door, a young woman in a white sweater came out and dragged my filthy body into her clean living room, covered me in a blanket by the fireplace, then laid my stink-bomb head in her lap. She ran her fingers through my hair and sang a song in an unrecognizable language. I died listening to the song, longing to understand it. When I woke up I wanted to write a poem about what ‘being claimed’ felt like, and what came out was ‘Prayer.’”
—Nathan Parker

Prayer

our Father I do love to walk
down to the shore at dawn
while the ground is cold
and there sprinkle my cells
to smashed ocean radios
I dream that I was born
with no tongue and that
I can neither ask nor
answer nor understand
questions about where
I come from that the waves
are my clapping sisters
so many dark swallowed
ships my deleted thoughts
cannon and coin pulp
my new body and that any
one of a million canyons
trembling with the psalms
of stones is my easily
remembered mother who
easily remembers me

Copyright © 2016 by Nathan Parker. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Nathan Parker. Used with permission of the author.

Nathan Parker

Nathan Parker

Nathan Parker is the author of The Locust Diagrams (Noemi Press, 2015).