Where Prayers Go
On a quiet drive home,
I pray to an ambiguous force,
skyward, where thoughts meet
the dimpled cloud belly
over the city. Each recess holds a tiny tear
where sunlight, radiant in upper altitudes,
seeps through stratocumulus layers
and sifts to earth in cylindrical shapes.
My prayer floats through an opening,
passes into the heavens, flames
into nothingness. Some think
there’s power in what is etched
in a mind, propelled by a heart,
directed to the Word. I have no
evidence of that. Just that it soothes
my peripatetic brain and harms no one.
Once I awoke in a small room. My pale,
dark-haired lover turned to me and smiled.
A gold and red medal hung over his shoulder.
I didn’t know what it represented
or whether it kept him safe. Sunlight
streamed through linen curtains. Each molecule
of air felt dense as gold. The love we made,
did it come from us or was it sent to us?
Because when I think of where I send my prayers,
that’s where they go. Not to him or to that force
that drew us together, but to the atoms that witnessed us,
that spun away and told our story to new matter,
the DNA of love dancing, scattered to the galaxy.
The Winter I Lived in a Basement
Inside this cold cavern, I hear the north wind rip branches off trees. Unsure of the pipes and if they’ll freeze I fiddle with the kitchen faucet until I hear water drops percuss white porcelain. I dream of tiny tap dancers that skip across the concrete floor until the brutal slap of a trap wakes me. But the morning brings no bodies. The next night I doze with the light on. At midnight, a rat gallops past from a hole in the back. Just another mammal, like me, seeking warmth. Time to get a cat.
Coloring Inside the Lines
Behind lace panels.
a pale crystal
fractures feeble colors:
tear duct pink
a watery blue eye.
The creamy curtains
filter the sun’s power
until its rays are as weak
as her emotions.
Once a wild bird in her heart
flew out without permission,
then returned diminished.
Bats sleep in her attic,
slip out each night through the
return well fed.
She deprives herself,
dreams she is so thin
that she fits through floorboards
and floats away
over the guano.
The next day
she tars the escape hatch over.
Peggy Turnbull is a poet and retired academic librarian living in Wisconsin. She enjoys hiking, but not in January. Most recently, she was published inWhitmanthology: On Loss and Grief.