Possible Answers to Prayer

Your petitions—though they continue to bear

just the one signature—have been duly recorded.

Your anxieties—despite their constant,

relatively narrow scope, their inadvertent

entertainment value—nonetheless serve

to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath

a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more

conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent care for the sick,

the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes

recognizable to me, if not to them.

Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly

righteous indignation toward the many

whose habits and sympathies offend you—

these must burn away before you'll apprehend

how near I am, with what fervor I adore

even these, the ones who rouse your passions.


Scott Cairns teaches poetry at the University of Missouri. His most recent collection is Recovered Body (George Braziller, 1998).

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