While Aunt Irene Kneels at the Coffin

I stare, clutch a hymnal, revert finally

to a prayer that the casket will not tip,


spill my mother to the stone floor. Light

from stained glass marks the backs of pews


and I decide to continue to pray, so right away

I ask that the Brussel sprouts in my garden curl


their small heads in that tender spot against

the stalk, safe from cutworms, cabbage worms,


the diamond-backed moth. I pray

for a pen that doesn’t leak, for a closed tent


in the forest of rain. Someone coughs.

Asking for health would be fruitless, I think.


Cells die everyday in the millions, sloughing off

in waves, an invisible trembling spray. Instead


I pray now that the radiator leak in the car

won’t get worse, that I can make the drive


north without a quilt of worry over my shoulders.

I pray for a closed tent in the forest of rain.


For my cats to always lie on sunny paws,

for the red globes of tomato to survive the fall.




Judy Kaber's poems have appeared in Eclectica, Ekphrasis, Off the Coast, The Comstock Review, and The Guardian. Contest credits include the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest, and, most recently, second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest. She lives in Maine.