OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 7

BJ Love

I'M SO SCARED OF PRAYER

 

I can’t even look at the sky

anymore, can’t cast even

a glance towards heaven.

The heavens is a nice way

of filling in the expanse

that exists between stars

between the space things

that linger between stars.

I hate the word ‘vast’

because of the Midwest

because of how I was

raised in the Midwest.

Vast is just a nice way

of saying nothing. Nice

ways are the only ways

we’re allowed growing up

in the Midwest, in Iowa.

There is nothing for me

in Iowa, is something I told

my mom on Mother’s Day.

I meant it, but also felt bad

about having to say it. Like

petting the cow I know

I will eat later, I felt bad

but also knew that it was

the only way I was going

to ever feel better. Apology

no longer works on me.

I mean, I say sorry so much

no one takes me seriously

anymore. I tried to say it

quietly to myself, like I was

breathing, like it was a filter

necessary for my breathing

but that came way too close

to prayer for me to feel

comfortable continuing on

that route. So, I just gave it up.

BJ Love teaches English and creative writing at the Emery/Weiner School in Houston, TX. Other poems can be found in Gulf Coast, The North American Review, and the anthology, Dig if You a Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince.