Prayer

That this job will change you, turn you tender.
That vexation will, unlike coddling, coddle you soft.

That under the dyes, you will go pale with epiphanies.
That after all the meetings and the fêteings, nothing

will prevent some late evening when, alone and awake, you
feel what all of us must one night feel: a chill of prophecy.

That, like the mother who knows at once when first she looks
into the eyes of her child that it will leach the life from her,

deflate the collagen from her cheeks, rob the pertness from
her breasts, steal the lightness from her pre-sleep mind –

your rest likewise will be troubled, niggled by those you serve.
That, if unwillingly, you will be made to see and see and see.

That your tartar’s heart will turn tartare,
a pulp unlike the tough sear you prefer.

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