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Prayer
Susanna Childress (bio)

In bed, your sister preparing herself
for sleep, that slow spiral
of consciousness, inward, perhaps,
so the dream pooled at the stem of her brain

began its delicate splay into a childhood memory
which, this time, included flight. Perhaps, too,
the premonition of wings wakened her
seconds before a moth, fluttering blindly

in that moonless room, dove
straight into her ear. At the ER, her head
on an examining table, the doctor’s
slight silver pincers extracted the thing

still flapping in tenacious reflex, and your sister
could not, after such length in the keen knells
of panic, tell the difference between
the pulse in her ear and the moth’s

jockeying beat. Is it out? she’d ask, the moth
long gone. Is it out? And afterward—silence
so bright it filled the dusty aperture of her ear
like daybreak the corners of your Auntie’s

kitchen, wick-white, linen-white, sun-white.

Susanna Childress

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