#144 A New Mexico Prayer by Tani Arness

Please deliver, from evil, the quiet place of us, standing together on a hillside, on earth—sand and rock and moon—the place where ghosts, in the ways we aren’t—be.  As it is in heaven.  He stands beside me, wants to save me from the depleted uranium and poisoned streams.  Still, my tomato patch soil, on earth, is indicating dangerous levels of radiation, as it is in heaven.  In my moonless dreams he flies over—hallowed be thy name. . . He shakes that turtle rattle over me and brings in the ancestors, aho.  Our daily bread.

Now, as if giving us this day isn’t enough, I’m being asked to decide whether or not our daily bread is love.  Sun-warmed boulder (forgive us our trespasses) overlooking lake and mountains—is, clearly, love, but what about us?  Lord, deliver the sleep we need—to us, the turtle shell lovers.  Deliver us, our debts, our poison, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Hallowed be thy. . . How can I explain? There is a moon and a man and the tomatoes should not be eaten.

Please lead us not into the dangers of sandstone nights, and watery eyes.  He calls me to the riverside—looks sleepy the water.  Hallowed.  I want to tell—the Kingdom—I want to—come—but lead us not, Father, into, I-am-crazy-wind-in-hair-temptation.  Do I love?
Who art in heaven?

I diagram past transgressions with arrows leading from me to him, from earth into heaven— Thy will be done.  We stand on a hillside, wind, lead us not into temptation.  Thin, callused fingertips lightly brushing over eyelids, our power.  Twine, woven, catching dreams and turquoise beads, the bread, this day is our kingdom and glory, be done.  Him, green waters, me yellow grass, love lead us into—as it is in heaven, forever and ever, Amen.

Tani Arness resides in Albuquerque, NM.  Since completing her Master’s in Creative Writing, she remains dedicated to finding the beauty, spirit, and surprise in the intersection of words and living.   Her work appears in numerous literary magazines including North American Review, Red Rock Review, and upcoming in Crab Orchard Review.


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