Let This Be Your Praise

Let This Be Your Praise
And what is praise but the offering up of one’s self,
the daily rituals: waking to the stream of light seeping in
under the bedroom door, dressing slowly, humming Marley’s
'Three Little Birds' or a made up melody,         
cursing the traffic and the heat - the unbearable brazenness
of the morning sun - punctuating your profanities
with pleas for forgiveness. When you were a child
your mother threatened to wash your mouth with soap.
You have not forgotten how a mouth can sully everything,
its desire to be perfect and how often it fails.
At work you smile with the girl who asks stupid questions,
you imagine she has unpaid bills, a wayward child,
you imagine you are more alike than different.
You cut your nails at your desk, laugh when someone falls,
eat lunch too quickly, take Tums for the indigestion.
In the evening you drink peppermint tea, watch TV and
when your eyes grow heavy you say a quick word
of prayer, a thank you for another full day, a request that you
not be killed in your sleep. Perhaps, you squeeze in an orgasm.
And if this is not praise, this simple act of living, if this is not
enough, then let us lie here and do nothing and see
what God has to say about that.
Tanya Shirley

Reproduced by kind permission of the author.