Prayer for my father

God, this is a prayer for my father on his birthday,
among the lights rising
out of the lake backdrafting a little.
The water runs from it.
This prayer is for water running from
roof and eaves. A box of water.
This is for my father’s good eye.
For a pattern of clouds.
For the eggs of my father.
The milk and the cheese of my father.
For the birds
of my father’s complaining:
awww & awwwwww
Birds fish and at dusk their figures
move in and out mud buoys

This is of my father
on a hammock sometimes
****

My father is in the snow, his face

burns with snow and the snow’s
among us in this basket going
up, up. Picture us
against a clouds’ pattern: dimming day
around his mountain of peace.
This is a prayer fifteen below and he is running us into the trees.
He is running us down the mountain to sleep.
He is getting us up and running us down the mountain.
My father
My wheel
My crank
I’m praying,
I’m praying on stilts of snow,
in years of drifts.
We are all full.

****

My father is slicing tomatoes and eating tomatoes.
This is a dream. He is eating mulberries and biscuits.
He is rowing a boat. He is swimming at Fort Gordon Recreational Center.
It is bright blue moving all over the glass walls.
It smells like wet silk.

& during the long drive home, his sailboat sinks.
& during the long drive home we become born,
born on my father’s back, born inside his ears,
we are a cargo of stupid birds, singing out, crying
What on the long drive back,
he’s driving us back
my father’s prayer
of silence, his prayer of peace, his boat asleep
on the lake, the sound of the moon.

****

I am praying for my father’s peaceful expression,
on a white hammock a dusk.
I am making a prayer that is white like his legs,
that is long and scratched. I am asking that this prayer be
floating like my father and rowing like my father,
like my father and mother, like their daughters and sons.
This is a prayer for his children
asleep on the skylights, his children in the back seat asleep,
his children sleeping fast on cots, on chairs
pushed together, inside of drawers, on the backs of boats
they are sleeping, they are sleeping under the bed
and on top of the stairs his children are swimming in sleep, soaking.
I am praying for Morgan.
I am praying for Whit.
I am praying for Laine.
I am praying for Reagan.
I am praying for Katie.
I am praying for my father, my father Lord.
My nimbus father, my hairy father.
Arms straight, knees bent.

****

The voice of my father underneath a scarf.
The voice of my father inside a lake.
The voice of my father on the phone.
The voice of my father farther and farther out,
casting his voice off, the shadows of time throwing flowers
on the water, his eyes in the water, the silver clouds
on the silver hooks, the iron bell, the blackest bell,
the grill smelling fading upon the wet stars, his voice
on the other side of time. Oh God be with my father
in the black shoe of the day. Today is today oh God.
It’s my father’s birthday. So we can sing it’s my father’s birthday,
it’s my father’s birthday. I pray to you
on this oblique shape, a flame, a piece of light sliding off
the boat, across the grey lake, the grey sound.

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