Poem: Prayer

I wrote my first poem when I was 15 years old.

I’d always wanted to write poetry. I feel things very deeply. I tried to write my first poem when I was 12, but I thought every poem had to rhyme. I was homeschooled in Christian fundamentalism, so I thought deviating from traditional poetry was a sin of rebellion, just like modern art was sinful.

All my teenage poetry is about the crucifixion. I wish I was kidding. It’s actually quite disturbing to read now.

Two folders stuffed with dozens of poems, all inevitably leading up to graphic descriptions of Jesus’ torture and death no matter how they started. My family thought I was a good girl who loved Jesus. I thought I was spiritual, never realizing this was a sign of an underlying problem.

When I joined the CleanPlace writing group, one of the mentors, Twinkie, encouraged me to branch out and explore other topics. Later on in college, slam poetry became a big part of my healing and feeling my emotions again.

A reader asked me recently if I write poetry. So I decided to start posting more poetry, starting with an old one from 2013.


How can you write a poem and not pray?
Poetry is folded paper hands,
a written voice lifted in the light.
Poetry is a heartbeat bleeding out
between cracked concrete,
quivering against glass shards,
willing to bleed again.

In our poems, we pray
just one other heartbeat synchronizes with ours,
just one other voice harmonizes with our groan,
just one other soul observes the clotting sanguine flow
dribbling down our skin like syrup.
Not stop it. Not yet. Just notice.

Poetry is a drop of mingled hemoglobin
and plasma that pleads to be drunk
that another might sip and know.

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