Hestia, protector of missing children, you with soft oil dripping ever from
your locks, come now into this house -- draw near, and withal bestow grace
upon my song. -- Ancient Greek prayer
Historical pieces, these things of yours:
a deflating ball, a bike not on its kick, but propped
against a garage wall; a crestfallen lacrosse stick. Tours
have come through as if walking the way of the cross:
neighbors with pasta, a friend to awkwardly drop off
a borrowed dress. Police with their pens and pads
making calculations. A press release for the missing, accosted
kidnapped, or dead; your photo, a ghost of a soul you had.
Musee de Beaux Arts for the ambushed, the dispossessed,
for guardians, who did not guard our watch,
conservators of hellish thoughts, thoughts too wretched
for talk. Prayers in place of a fight we would have fought
had you called out. But what, after all, can our prayers do
except repeat prayers from the past, and that surely God knew.
Copyright © 2007 M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award Special Merit.
Published in The Comstock Review, January 2008.