Prayer to Delay the Apocalypse

Angels, give us this day. Set down your plagues,
and forgive us this night. I’ve lifted a candle to see
who I’ve been making love to and examined his body

for the first signs of terror. Whoever you are, wake up.
Tell me heaven will be like Venice–dirty, beautiful
and sinking. Tell me the walls of every paradise fall,

that there are riots in the city of peace. Promise me
I will die of love. Promise me we take our suffering
with us, the scratches we crewel down each other’s

backs as we rush into joy. Take the ghosts first,
they’ve gone mad grieving for the world. Let the apostles pull
up their nets. Keelhaul the archangels, make seraphs kiss

the sharks, but do no call me unto you. Do not spare me
gunshots outside my window. Do not spare me the man
who touched my neck on the train in St. Petersburg

when he thought I was asleep. The devil has been up all night
and is sleeping it off in the basement. Let him rest awhile.
Let us continue wandering in the in these perishable machines

made of dirt and music. The saguaros swell with rain.
Hallelujah. The mysteceti’s heart is big enough to crawl
through and it sings for no reason, hallelujah. Praise

for young seahorses growing in their fathers’ bodies.
Praise for the avocados clinging to the trees. I will hold onto
the night like a girl with wet hair. I will put my fingers

into bullet holes in the opera house. Do not destroy this.
Gone would be Goya, Paris and the Marinsky ballet.
Gone the glaciers and Great Barrier reef. Gone the cave

painting where humans first learned we must love
what we kill. My dear God, my darling Torquemada,
the first and the last and the everlasting, you already know

how this will end, how as a child I heard Talitha cum
and woke standing over my father saw the fire
burning next to him. I nestled into his body’s curve

and pretended to sleep so he would take me back to bed,
bear me like a bowl brimming with water, lake an angel
carry me to the end of the world and lay me down.

– Traci Brimhall

thank you, thank you, thank you, tim.


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