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.