“Our Father,” by Peter Blickle, appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of MQR.
The word you hear in this land
is bless—short and sharp
and significant, a sword blade
reflecting the sun. It is
at the dinner table before
meals, at bedtime, in school,
during long car rides,
before soccer matches,
and anyway, it hangs in the air
like a hawk that can’t make up its mind:
Should it pounce or should it stay?
A heartbeat, a cloud, a wind and rain
that fall into the void.
Lord happens quickly.
Blood dries. The organ
fades. Rivers find their way
through stone. Bodies listen
to the sound of trees, and frogs
listen to the corpses on the gallows—
all in clear air, lonely and mute,
troubled and unrepentant.
Bless—to the bone, to the soul,
to family and love, to the landscape
in a minor key. We are
divided. No doubt.
Still, it helps whatever else
is going on in these quiet
prairies of despair.
Image: Stella, Joseph. “Battle of Lights, Coney Island, Mardis Gras.” 1913-14. Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery.