Labrador retriever, image by Rebecca Humann, on Pixabay
Mid-morning, the rituals of prayer
and chores done, I sit nestled
in silence, grateful for time
to sift floating half-formed ideas
as they filter into cohesive themes.
I sort and juggle dancing words
that skip into place by their own volition
or, through grace,
into poems that pierce the quiet.
STEPPING INTO HOLY
An unlikely cast of characters,
we gather in a nursing home room
as we play our human and canine parts,
beeping equipment the sonorous score
of the last act of a dying woman’s life.
Honoring her wish to see dogs
before cancer carries her far from
the antiseptic smell that cannot mask
the odor of decay and fear,
my husband and I wear hospice tags
and have brought our Labradors who cuddle
beside her as she beams with gratitude.
Forming a circle of compassion, we are
held, for one exquisite moment, on eternity’s threshold.
ANOTHER KIND OF PRAYER
This morning, with my husband dead four years,
no words of prayerful thanks come,
the daily gratitudes stick in my throat,
lodged between a bout of grief and unexpected anger.
Normally nourishing, silence offers no repast,
and the day ahead echoes with emptiness.
“Take all of this!” I barter defiantly
with a deity I hope still listens
to another kind of prayer.
Sally Rosenthal, a former college librarian and occupational therapist, is the author of Peonies In Winter: A Journey Through Loss, Grief, And Healing. Available at Apple
Books Peonies in Winter: A Journey Through Loss, Grief, and Healing (Unabridged) on Apple Books Also available at audible.com and Amazon. A poet and book reviewer,
Sally lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she listens for words in the silence of the everyday.
October 2023 Issue