Jason Myers

Women Praying

In the oak-dark darkness becoming
light under the phosphorous exclamations of a magnolia tree
three men work.
They solder steel, sparks amber & orange shoot & spit
& hang, for the briefest moment, little bits
of fire on the now-blue, now-gray air.
It’s cold out there, on the other side
of the windows, & I have no idea
what those men are really doing,
or how dangerous it is.
In here, in the hospital cafeteria,
I’m eating spinach & eggs when
two women at the table next to mine
begin to pray.
Who or what their concerns are escapes
earshot, but I hear that sweet name, Jesus, sail
the lake of their lips,
& every few seconds
one or the other
raises an affirmation
here three measures,
here more,
like they are reassuring God
as well as themselves,
like they are rocking
a baby to sleep
the words slip
out & over the room & sing,
Mary’s arms wrapped
around her boy,
first an infant
delicate & unfathomable as those on the NICU,
then a man
covered in blood
like the woman
on the gurney
in the trauma bay
who’d been bludgeoned
about the face
by her boyfriend’s
baseball bat.
I don’t know
who these women are
praying for
but I will take
their Yehhhhhss
word become chant become river
of sound
sound most close to silence
near to music
nearer my God to thee
I will take it, Lord,
spread it across
my day
my life
like balm
like globes of fire
soldering us together.



Jason Myers is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoTheo Review. A National Poetry Series finalist, his work has appeared in American Poet (introduced by Campbell McGrath), The Believer, DIAGRAM, Image, The Paris Review, West Branch, and numerous other journals. He lives outside Austin, Texas, where he works in hospice.