A Prayer

You mustn’t think her out of line
she’s a starving thing
only ever fed by her own, desperate hand
so when you ushered her in and sat her
at a table no less
with a plate and fork and knife
and taught her how to cut along the flesh
and to chew slow
she could hardly fathom it
with a fire in the hearth too—!
you’re mad to think she would leave the same way she had come
or at all.

“And what do you have for breakfast normally, sir?
I hear around here they serve cheese in small balls;
I have never seen such a thing.”

Well, of course she means to spend the night.
Is that not why you’ve lit the fire
so she could make herself small beside it and thaw her fears?
You do mean to thaw her fears, do you not?
To let her rest against your lap and shiver out the spirits
while you whisper and kiss the hollow beneath her ear
at last no longer possessed
she is taken by sleep?

Surely you must have known!

Dear God…
I pray for both your hearts.


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