I don’t remember learning how to pray, only trying to

kneeling in a fiction I did not design


Hardwood under downy knees

what would come I could not say


soft dark of the bedroom

light under the door illuminating the wood-grain


I feigned myself into humility, a kind of child’s play

tried repentance on for size to see how it suited me


My mother sensed something under the god-talk

between man’s tongue & his language of liturgy


in the dark of a chapel by the sea she praised St. Mary

God is love, she told me God is what I want him to be




From a distance of years & miles, I walk the Woodlands Cemetery

greet the hot dirt of midsummer here where train tracks pass over marsh banks


so naturally, reeds part for them


From above, even the river pocked by crop circles,

channels of blue-brown in the marsh body like arteries


algae blooms over the surface: a sign of nutrient profusion

a fertilized decay that feeds the green, deprives the fish of oxygen they need to breathe


The way she struggled at the end, tubes running oxygen to lungs and chest—

Rest now, her doctor told her. Lia, you can rest.




Heavy air settles over the cemetery, thunderclouds build columns of steam

the sweet vanilla smell of some common shrub blooming


grasslands on the water small islands of trees

white clouds hang over the river’s deep green


In the midmorning of my life still, it feels unnatural

to be here to be here without her