Saturday, April 5, 2014


Learning to Pray

She cleans the kitchen: washes dishes,

throws out paper plates, paper towels,

beans left hardening in a pan for two days.

The rain lets up; sun shoots a ray

through dripping trailer windows,

illuminates a red laminate counter top,

raises her hopes.  She thinks, if

the house is clean,

you'll come home.  Who wouldn’t

like a sparkling sink?  By two

p.m., no word; her stomach

growls hard.  She makes toast,

quickly wipes away crumbs,

rinses the butter knife, places

the stick of margarine back

into the fridge.  She doesn’t count

the hours; just know allnight

allday's too long.  She feels

very old; this must be how

grownups feel, living alone.

She doesn’t like it.  She wants

you to come home,

even – yes – even still drunk –

that would be closer to normal

and God knows normal

is all this eight year old girl

wants, so she polishes chrome faucets,

scrubs under the stove rings,

takes out garbage, stands still

as long as that ray of light holds.

Deborah Miranda

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