On Praying
Cliff Williams

I do not pray very well in churches.

When I need to pray,
I put on old boots and dark clothes,
Take a piece of cardboard, folded up,
And drive to a freight train yard.
There I find an empty boxcar
And, laying out my cardboard, sit or lie.
 
Words come slowly or not at all—
Mostly feelings or desires,
Sometimes vague longings.
 
No one knows where I am
Except the one toward whom
The longings are directed.
 
After an hour I fold my cardboard
And find my way out of the yard.
Later, when I am in church,
I pray when others pray
But not with them
Or with their words.
 
© 2007 by Cliff Williams. Published in
The Penwood Review (Fall, 2007), 19
 
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