Prayer (1)


sky of all elsewheres
—fever-bright late light on your ragged
hems of searing day, your clouds scorched-tree-scored
with branches' shadows, your heft and weft
marvelously woven, though star-weighted, ship-snagged
and tired with use—

do you grow weary of my habitual petitions
insisting, as they do, on your veil-like attributes,
imploring past you and through you and
implying that you are not
what you are,
but what you hide?


because I do. It is very wearisome
to be at all times imprecise
and in all ways insufficient,
the nothing in me fathoming drowned mercy
in the nothing in you,
a rendezvous of nothings meeting in
your infinite horizons' haze—

let me breathe, then:
breathe, only.

let me sound my underground lakes and airy chambers
and send my breath to your breath,
and know
chance words decay far, far below
your sapphire peaks and starless ravines
of deep space.


sit you down, oh Orpheus, sit you down
and lift your harpist's fingers to the loom
and weave:
twist on the lucet-lyre your voice
and breathe a song, upon
your warp-harp the nether sky.

listen only with your wet tongue:
taste the immutable unknowable, and the
immortal elsewhere.

Lucy Harlow is a Philadelphia-based British writer, currently completing a Ph.D. dissertation on medieval and early modern poetry at Princeton. This is her first creative publication.