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April 30, 2007

Shapes of Stone & Prayer — by Matt Donovan

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Once, you pressed a palm-sized stone into my hand,
asked me to pray on it for you, & left me with a silence

I could feel seizing the room. You wanted only
faith to compress & a single thing to grip, but I couldn't even

count the things I wished I could believe. Afterwards,
unsure of what shapes my hands should make, I could only

raise feebly, facing the moon-washed lawns, a glass to the night,
to the handful of stars that remained. At your memorial,

again & again, they raised the Bible into air,
& the minister's words, untroubled, exact, described all

of what you could see: pearl, sapphire, a sea of glass,
white linen, pages of names. I am tired of being told

what the dead wear, what verbs encompass their acts:
they awaken, they choose & clasp. My friend, you are gone

from here & missed & the silence now has changed.
What I hold tonight, instead of those words, is yet another stone

to touch with no end in mind. What I'm guessing at
you must already know: that its one black & mottled edge

might be a form blessing could take & that to trace
its one trembing, fissured line entirely around could be

an act of intercession, or some kind of prayer in itself.
To finger all of this stone's syllables its unvarying weight may have.
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April 30, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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