Sunday, April 29, 2007

Shahé Mankerian: Lord’s Prayer

Lord’s Prayer: Age 8

Dear Jesus, the monster
finally sleeps just around
sunrise. All night

he beds with me. I can’t
close my eyes; he touches me
all over. Mother thinks

I play with my flash-
light in the dark,
but I wiggle my toes

under the comforter in fear.
I want to make sure
he’s not there, poking

me with dirty fingernails
because I wet my bed. Jesus,
eat the monster

for dinner. I’ll give you
a fork, a knife. Slice him
to pieces before you

swallow. Use my blanket
as a napkin; clean your chin.
I’ll help you, bless you,

I won’t even chew
on the wafer and break
you like a wish bone.

Lord’s Prayer: Age 28

Dear Jesus, snap
the cables and let the box
full of monster fall.

I’m used to wearing
socks under the blanket,
but today I will stand

barefoot on the grass.
If he tries to crawl
back out, I won’t run.

Now, he’s so fat he can’t
fit under my bed, and
the closet is too dark.

The last time he fell
asleep, I wanted to steal
his dentures. He snored,

coughed foam full
of mucus, toy cars, slingshot,
then cursed you, Jesus.

That was the last time;
he puffed a lone breath
as his ribcage sank.

I feed him cakes
of dirt and watch the box
disappear from view.

Copyright Shahé Mankerian. Used here by kind permission of the author.

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