Dummy Prayer

Gale Marie Thompson

Let me begin   with the weight of sleep

with a cheeky look to my mother   with a wounding


with nine words for pardon    This is what I would wish for   

to burrow through     this cycle like a vole in the yard     


and emerge      a new myth hungry and swirling     

after a long night       of no heartbeat   no wakeful pupil      


pulsing under my thumb      This is what grief could be like     

its clever enamel         Instead it is a blue bowl    


it is jealous     nothing but a beating    a deep shoulder bruise   

from breaking open      my own door        It is eating


and eating     the body a retreating vehicle       

to mark time   the hot milk rag slack      of comfort


I want the first eight salutations    I want Jupiter

as viewed       from its south pole      I am about to recite


the ten plagues        and I need to insert a name

for god     any name   any god

Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015) and Helen or My Hunger (YesYes Books, forthcoming). Her work appears in Gulf Coast, American Poetry Review, Guernica, jubilat, Bennington Review, and Colorado Review, among others. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Gale is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine, and she lives, writes, and teaches in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can find her on twitter @thegalester.