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Pray It Ahead: poems by Linda McCullough Moore

candle, image by Anemone123, on Pixabay

Does Jesus Look for Me

Even led blindfolded,

I leave a trail of bread crumbs

in my wake. A scent, sent with

intent of being later found.

A glow, light on its feet, light at

your feet, when darkness comes.

An echo, shadow of my former self.

A way back, when that is wanted

on the day, but somewhere starts

the twist: careless dropping pebbles,

to be swollen bolder, boulder size.

Mortar, metal, noise and railroad

ties, not clues, not any signpost, I

must think, so much as an obstacle

course, impediments with jagged

edges, stony, as I see, the makings

of a wall.


Pray it Ahead

They never saw it coming: No one did.

My grandmother’s mother lived full ninety years

and never once imagined me. Never gave a thought,

much less considered the particulars of how it is I am

so soon to cease to be. You do not send your thoughts

down alleyways to see your children’s children’s

children old and dying. My great-grandmother,

left penniless with six small children she would feed

by opening a boarding house, this woman never stopped

once to consider I would come to be, would one day

walk the streets of town, to end in disarray. Much as I

have never once considered daughter of my daughter’s

daughter, what her end will be. I, so like you, imagine

it has no connection to my soul today, no tie to how I pray.


Be Ye Kind One to Another

New winds from the coast of morning pale

and Earth will shiver, blow straws making camels’

backs break and all, straws: planks, beams of steel

bones bear, but only just. The wind that strong.

And we will need new names to call the men

despising good, determined to diminish even

memory of the gentle, kind; men who abolish

righteousness and kill her children.

Starting today, all day, tonight,

lovingkindness, small, soft-spoken

will begin to matter like it never did before.

A widow from Romania, perfumed and painted,

round and sweet, will be overheard to say,

“I cannot watch the news. It breaks my heart

to hear of suffering I can’t heal and cannot help.”

A votive candle flickers.

My brother calls. We reminisce. It’s what we do.

He tells me of Bill Johnson, the Sunday School

Superintendent at the Bible Church in 1953,

who knelt down on his knees on Easter morning

to clean vile vomit from the narthex floor.

An act of honor. A thread of light

beneath a splintered door.

It’s getting late, there is a darkness in the world

tonight I can’t remember. And men somewhere

will stay up late to make more night.

But old women from Romania will carry tiny candles

to an altar place to cry, and men, long dead now, will

have knelt down, shriven, black-suited, in shoes shined

at dawn, knelt down to show the right thing being done.

Faint glimmers will be small, the darkness blacker now,

ill stalking, prowling round all night.

And glowing, small and pure, what’s righteous

will need telling, showing, fanning, till the light.


Pandemic: to be a Christian

Day turns to night,

we stockpile light bulbs

and online ask people

we have never met

for movie suggestions.

We repost songs and recipes.

We claim to be God’s children,

so we create live videos

in basements in his holy name,

send virtual thanks to people

who are dying in our stead,

and we are brave and patient

and some of us are kind.

We give away the masks we

make from fabric scraps, we

scribble Bible verses,

Psalms to comfort,

hymns to brace.

I can’t remember,

what does

Whistling Dixie mean?

We’re keeping

busy, tidying.


all Rome aflame.

Knowing full well

we could of course

upend creation

were we

to ever



Linda McCullough Moore is the author of two story collections, a novel, an essay collection and more than 350 shorter published works. She is a winner of the Pushcart Prize, as well as winner and finalist for numerous national awards. Her first story collection was endorsed by Alice Munro, and equally as joyous, she frequently hears from readers who write to say her

work makes a difference in their lives. For many years she has mentored award-winning writers of fiction, poetry, and memoir. She is currently completing a novel, Time Out of Mind, and a collection of her poetry.

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