Prayer

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I want to enter the cathedral and be alone. I need that quiet, the scent of burning candles and the enigmatic light through stained glass windows cast on cold marble. I need to light a candle for myself, for my soul. I need to be close to the dead.

I would like to sit alone in the cathedral for an hour perhaps and be in that quiet, but now the churches are locked, and maybe there are cameras for man to see what God does—

You do not know me. You know what my body does, how it moves about in physical space. You know some of my thoughts as I have spoken them. But you do not know me.

I don’t know you. You move about. You say things. I imagine you as you knead soft dough for a loaf of bread, or as you sweep dust and cellophane from cigarette packs into strands of light. A drop of water marks time in the small kitchen sink. You walk around naked, waiting for the tea to steep, crisscrossing open windows.

I imagine these acts but they are not necessarily how the life of another transpires. Maybe you lie in the dark and all things that are meant to be do not become. I am comfortable in the dark. I welcome the dark and all it contains. I am comfortable thinking about death. I am comfortable with you.

It is easy for me to make this life work. There are only a few things I let myself do or think. If I were to open myself to the possibilities life would overwhelm me. Eat, sleep, wake, bathe, dress, relate to the world— eat, sleep, wake, bathe, dress, deny the world.

I enter the cathedral and the organist is practicing. He is privy to my prayer. I let it slip from my mouth. If you knew me, you would know my prayer. If you knew me you would know what I wish for and what I despise. This prayer is for unlocked doors. This prayer is for lingering incense and a long, exhausting cry.

This prayer is for my own perpetual silence.

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