For my grandmother, Ione — my mother asked that I pray for you to the god I don't believe in and this was as best I knew how.


(Pentad Prayer For The Midwest Momentaries)

one.

Lionizing you in the sea change of my thoughts,
I imagine exchanging skin with you.

I think of tugging your blanket folds onto me,
the bone-stretch of my body filling the slack
your dwindling figure has forgotten.

Flexing tendons — I could tighten out the wrinkles
and wear you back into youth,
away from the rib-crack quadruple-bypass distance
between you and the empty bends of my arms.

One thousand, six hundred and thirty-seven miles apart
— we would be so close to one another.

two.

I promised I wouldn't worry about you
— I never said I wouldn't daydream you into differently.

three.

There is a distance between my arms and it tells me
to spend less time with myself. Tells me:

"— don't woolgather reverie.
— don't Midwest make-believe.
— don't sidewalk map without somewhere to go.
— don't imagine my nothingness as Someone's existence."

The distance longs to be filled. It likes feeling
close to people who surround it with their skin
and compress it between their bodies. It aspires
to be human and those moments of being
clothed in us promise it this is possible.

Attaining fulfillment in the cradle-lull of our entwinement,
the touch-drunk distance tells me:

"— I occupy space like endless whale bones.
— bodies exist to make motion into medicine.
— the weight of my importance is dependent upon your memory.
— inhaling me into your lungs feels like coming home."

four.

Lung-throwing on the telephone line we built
between our throats, my tin cup mouth identifies
with the inadequate length of our reach.

We weren't made for string-speak horizon travels
and the limb-ache of separation pulls my windpipe
west with the alphabet dream-breath of my ears.

five.

Sleep-wandering your nerve networks
through the evening echolalia of crickets,
I close my day with you as stars devour the sun.


Note: My grandmother had quadruple-bypass heart surgery on the 24th. She's doing extraordinarily well, so please don't worry about critiquing this harshly.

Formatting Note: Fiction Press refuses to allow me to format this in the way I would like to. The current lack of formating options is ridiculous — I require the ability to tab! Do you hear me FP? Make that happen.