The Way Prayer Rises

by Leslie Scoopmire

The way the air holds warmth
like a brimming teacup, tenderly
lifting the turkey vultures so high
their grace is all you see, as they trace
lazy lemniscates
                     forever,
                           forever,
                               forever,
balancing on a thermal delicately,
black-winged angels gravely waltzing
           atop the head of a pin

The way the painted sunflower bows
her head under the weight of the bumblebee
and the tickseed heads bristle with hyphenated seeds
that will scatter their blessings over
the living earth
     and prepare a table before the goldfinch
        in the presence of those who treasure her

The way September’s grasshopper
rasps his way from ditches to gravel roads
his battered wings extolling his travels even as
newborn monarchs iron their wings
     under a radiant, dog-summer sun
          and shadows with edges like knives

The way the redbud leaves dance–
a line in the canopy shifting green to citrine
affirming the beauty of repair, healing, and resilience
like a vein of gold repairing a broken pot
      made more beautiful
            for the continued life it offers

is the way prayer rises and falls

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