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  Carolyn Edwards
   
     
Hand-Held
 
“Please kneel or be seated to pray,”
he says.
 
I bow my head, clasp my hands together
and out of habit, close my eyes
feel my breath rush
as the warm wash of words
spills from his lips
 
I think of all those hands
fingers woven
closed in submission
 
pressed to silent lips
embracing faith
where flesh meets flesh
 
perfect and unending
 
that moment
unified
in something close to consummate peace
 
which never lasts
 
but hangs upon his soft command
“please stand
and let us confess -”
 
we rise, penitent as sinners
drowning in our swell
“our faith,”
hang on silence before that expectant
“we
 
the chorus-creed, which sounds like rote
as if hope begets ingratitude
 
a wondrous sadness
which seems to etch on every face
a blend of death
and comfort
 
I add my voice in frozen gratitude
pronounce my lost Amen
behind the fold
drop my head in wry supplication
and lacing my fingers
 
think about what lies
unmeasured and wholly
within these hands
 

 


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