Prayer

“I can lean the flame in my heart into your life and turn all that frightens you

into holy incense ash.”   

—Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

 

The poem

is a prayer—

tendril, wind machine,

shimmer, plough—

how we cling

 

to the words, little

paupers, poor saviors.

It sputters

and burns,

touching us here,

 

singeing the tips

of our fingers, our

hair—

and yet

what houses us

 

(most deeply)

is what we don’t

define

what we refuse

to enclose

 

with our little word-

cages

what flies out

every time.

We are most

 

set free

by what we can’t

catch. And where

i try to reach

and miss, where i

 

 

fall short

fall flat

there

You are

most radiant

 

there You meet

and touch

me

again

and again

 

burning

my body

to ash,

to holy

ash.

– Maxima Kahn

First published in the journal Poem.

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