Morning Prayer
Little red psalm books that we gathered from a rack
like basketballs:
sometimes I would get three or four, for my friends,
a utopian gesture of plenty that was received passively,
the cheap worn covers sliding

across the plastic tables. I hated the mornings when we read a long psalm,
legs stiffening with pain as we hit
the thirtieth verse. Either God was very angry
at the hebrews or their enemies, or it was some ornate
description of a banquet or the precise

metaphorical relation of obsequience and gratitude
that the speaker had
To God.
This was all in a wide gray room
we called the lockerteria:
a monstrosity of a word that conveyed
the dual function of storage and mealtime—
a eucharistic place
where we did a pantomime of mass, missing crucial sections
because the school wasnt catholic and the teachers werent priests
But the day, dark as it was from november to march,
had to start with prayer,
A prayer that in its droning sameness
drew on the flat indiana snow
the darkness of morning
the reluctance to have been woken for this
the longing for resurrection
a flat male prayer unleavened

with the grace of female voices.
If we strained we could sometimes hear the girls laughing
upstairs at their service,
the building divided between us
like the mind of zeus and athena,
we the unconscious rippling up below the rows of feet
which I was inclined to imagine
when I heard them overhead

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