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And Dwell in the House of the Lord Forever
Adam says we're supposed to kneel again
and pray. He even tells me the words to say
or at least how to begin each time: R father.
I ask why? What's missing that we need to pray?
Every ornament of paradise orbits us right here,
but in Adam's eye there is a mote of fear.
I question if it's his devotion or fear
that throws him to his knees again.
He stops his ears with his hands. “I can't hear
you” as if that would make me not say
what's on my mind. I don't want to pray
to clouds or dirt. I never had a father
but if I did, he wouldn't be the kind of father
that demanded love through martial fear.
Adam says we have to bow our heads to pray.
It's cold. We both try not to fight again.
Just yesterday I heard the serpent say
that if we behaved, our home was always here
but Adam fears it is not so. If not here,
where would we go? What loving father
ousts his children from the yard? I say
that paradise is ours, but Adam's fear
grabs my wrists and forces me down again
to act this nightly ritual and makes me pray.
Make this demanding god die is what I pray,
and leave us innocent and healthy here
in our wonderful garden. “Start again”
Adam says, “and this time with 'R father.'”
A bird seeing the sling shot aimed is the fear
in me now. I bow my head and say
“I can't say it. I don't want to say
it.” He sighs. He cannot make me pray
even though he's buckled to the ground in fear
of that unknown power. I hug him here
in the dirt; he does not understand this father
either. Maybe we could begin again.
What if we say to the serpent we love it here?
Replace pray with play and Adam becomes father?
Surely fear would not cross his face again.
POETRYREPAIRS 12.10: 120
ELIZABETH KERLIKOWSKE's MISCELLANY (36 poems)