"Prayer" by Marie Howe

"Prayer" by Marie Howe


Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage
I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here
among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.
The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?
My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.
Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.


Reprinted from "The Kingdom of Ordinary Time" by Marie Howe. Copyright © 2008 by Marie Howe. Used with the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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is the State Poet of New York and teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She’s published three collections of poetry: What the Living Do, The Good Thief, and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time.