Prayer (and other poems)


And if I am a Christian, I am the least of all.         
                               Well, that’s 
for sure. I love these words in Romans:
neither death nor life,
nor angels nor demons, not as a verse
affirming my faith, but
because they sound like Poe: Neither
angels in heaven above, 

nor demons down under the sea…
Also, I am convinced
that hell’s not a place, but a journey,
heaven’s not earned, but spent,

and prayer is just another name for song.
Demons dither when
I pray unceasingly through song.
I am persuaded that when

I die, the best of me will drone
eternally in tune
with gratitude for every song
I’ve ever sung.


I’d rather have a door that I could shut
to keep my morning space unoccupied, but 
with someone always on the other side to meet
me there halfway between my wants and needs
mid-day when I’ve exhausted those first thoughts
that first light always brings like little beings caught
between another world and mine. I want 
to bide my time in pondering but can’t.
I never can. By noon, I need relief
from what’s inside, or what’s outside needs me.

And that’s what doors are for. A door provides
an easy out when mystery collides
with what my mind can translate into words,
or should. When whispers only I have heard
beguile me most, an open door will end
the spell and save me for the world again.


  • Dana Wildsmith’s newest collection of poems is One Light from Texas Review Press. She is also the author of a novel, Jumping, an environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving with an Old Farm in the New South, and five additional collections of poetry. Wildsmith has served as Artist-in-Residence for Grand Canyon National Park and Everglades National Park, as Writer-in-Residence for the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and she is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.

  • Photographs of EastOver courtesy of WM Robinson.