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Prayers in the Dark

By Robert Nersesian

Prayer 1

Lord, you know how I stumble at this.

Stumble? Falter? Nervous collapse?

A mind wandering: the latest hamburger,

leaves unraked,

what’s on the tube?

To cinch the mind,

harness the heart.

To request, to query, plead—

for me?

For them? All of them?

Leave me, o Lord.

Fly away from me.

Still, you don’t.

Prayer 2

Come a day when no words will form,

the drawer empty of memories.

I, a husk.

What then?

What can I offer?

What is your plan for me then?

“The plan is no plan. You are. I am.”

You mean: stripped of desire, yearning, ambition?

Time stopped?

My soul taken up, body left behind?

Will your son then attend me?

These are my tremblings,

a sinner’s whisper.


Robert Nersesian attended the Yale Drama School and New York University School of Business. His essays have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post; short stories in Ararat Magazine and 101 Words; poetry in Poetica Review, Eunoia Review, and Haikuniverse; and reviews in The New York Journal of Books. He lives in Washington, DC.


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