“Teacher’s Prayer” by R.A. Villanueva

R.A. Villanueva


Blessed are you, maidens of the one hundred and eighty afternoons
You of the cough at the first inhale            You of the cut
school for the seashore
You of the sequined nails, the powdered
eyes, the breeze of lilac and lavender
You of the still-open door

Blessed are you, child of the broken
heart, the half-healed ventricle
You, the chamber voice, the madrigal
lift, the harmony and hum                           You of the pink
You of the dark black ink

You of the grandmother’s abattoir
hidden among the exits of the New Jersey Turnpike
You backstroking Ophelias and #2 pencils

You of the boardwalk tattoo, of the snapping latex, of the pierced
tragus, of the soft cartilage            You
of the essays in arabesques, the hearts above
the i’s, the diary left out on purpose, the origami messages,
the whispered consonants                             Pray for us

You who roll
your eyes in their painted sockets who
affix his last name to yours on your notebooks
Pray for us

You who can still pick and choose                You
who manicure your faces full
of the spark and sweat of future days
Pray for us

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
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