Christopher Buckley: “Prayer in Doubt”




Rain on the hoods of parked cars
reciting novenas, the storm trundling
down the coast dour as the old folks
in overcoats out from midday mass—
veils and canes, the end of afternoon
leading nowhere beyond simmering pots,
kitchen windows dim as clouds.

I want to be root-still, simple,
take the next bright thing in the sky
as a sign of our lives spiraling back
to us reusable as air, as the bits
of galaxies knotted together
by some dark, invisible weight . . .
by any of us turning the wind’s
thin page for a hymn of light,
marking our places beyond
the last thumb print of winter
smudging the blue scarf
of the horizon blown high
and snagged in the sycamores,
where, for a minute, starlings
are grinding out something
close to joy before reaffirming
that there’s no easy grace on earth
and shattering the air with their
faithless and frantic wings. . . .


Christopher Buckley’s recent books are Agnostic (Lynx House Press, 2019) and The Pre-Eternity of the World (Stephen F. Austin State Univ. Press 2021). He has recently edited The Long Embrace: Contemporary Poets on the Long Poems of Philip Levine (Lynx House Press, 2020) and Naming the Lost: The Fresno Poets—Interviews & Essays (Stephen F. Austin State Univ. Press, 2021).

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