A man lies face down
on the sidewalk
weeping

in our neighborhood
the Catholic Church placed a candlelit shrine
at street level. 

The church is closed for public safety
But people need to pray
“to earnestly implore” the dictionary says.

Only those facing darkness can dig deep enough to do this
—humiliation, submission, strength—
to lie on the ground
to speak the unmentionable out loud
        and demand to be heard
to bear your soul
        and ask something in return

Have you ever stepped, solitary, into the void
and felt the weight of it
    and the silence?
rather than papering over it with Netflix
and shouting into Twitter
    just stand naked and still in the eye of the storm?

Prayer, they say
is pounding a vending machine
writing to Santa
or worse, commanding a servant:
    do my bidding or else.

But to me
prayer is stepping into the ring to stare down an ancient opponent
  Despair
       Suffering
            Fear
and staying there, though I cannot win
Wrestling wrestling and
staying there though I am nearly defeated
pleading with God to show up and
waiting
    waiting
        waiting

like a man lying face down
on the sidewalk
weeping

 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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