I have not said my prayers. My god is tired and lonely. Dressed to see him, I am lonely too. David makes pecan pies and wears a blue hat. In the corner, our mother murmurs the prayer of the 7th horse and rolls a penny along the slanting floor. No one comes to talk with me. David snaps his fingers, tap dances to The Night Hank Williams Came to Town. A long time ago, our mother saw a portrait of a woman who reminded her of an orphan, someone she knew and could not save. I have never said enough prayers. My god rolls around in the back of a pickup. Our mother stomps mushrooms with her open hands and they puff out smoke. No one tells me it’s time to eat.
They called me little Jimmy, short but I swung my limbs like nobody. My fingers torn to bits from the welding arc but I still pluck that banjo, sell quail to those who want birds to hunt or sing. I jammed all my sockets into this blasted life my mama gave me. I tore it up and forgot. My life is higher up the hill from here; routine drumming its fingers on my skull. This is the old place they bought fastened to dark in bottomland. One sorry line after another, a man with worn out work gloves. This bailing twine. I spit and win contests. Where did you cut your teeth, they ask me and I say my mama put coffee in the baby bottle. I am solid when I reach back but all the woods are stony.
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Raised in Tennessee, Laressa Dickey received an MFA from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of four chapbooks (www.miel-books.com) including A Piece of Information About His Invisibility. Her work appears or is forthcoming in CURA, Cerise Press, U City Review, interrupture, Newfound, ILK, Quarterly West, and other journals. A chapbook entitled [apparatus for manufacturing sunset] is forthcoming from dancing girl press. (www.laressadickey.com)