by Scott Cairns
Your petitions—though they continue to bear just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant,
relatively narrow scope and inadvertent entertainment value—nonetheless serve to bring your person vividly to mind.
Your repentance—all but obscured beneath a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.
Your intermittent concern for the sick, the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes recognizable to me, if not to them.
Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly righteous indignation toward the many whose habits and sympathies offend you—
these must burn away before you’ll apprehend how near I am, with what fervor I adore precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.
Scott Cairns, “Possible Answers to Prayer” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns