Precatio simplex

C. Dale Young

                   in memoriam Mavis Clarke (1936 - 2016)

Father, Holy Father, Prime Mover, God Almighty—
I have forgotten what to call you. Standing here
before the Pacific, I am tempted to call you

Poseidon, Green Neptune, someone I understand
more clearly than I have ever understood You.
The sea’s slow tide, its almost-hidden riptide dragging

handfuls of foam under the surface, has no answers
for me. Sitting here on the crest of the sand dunes,
there is no one by my side. I have come

here alone because I remember what the nuns
taught me, that You do not appreciate a show
of these things. Not success with words, not

the lottery prize now worth millions, not the
usual things I am sure others request: I come now
to ask for something unthinkable for one like me.

Almost 3,000 miles away, near the brighter coast
of this godless country, my aunt’s pain is
outpacing the cancer tearing her abdomen apart.

No amount of morphine can break it. I do not
come to ask You for miracles. I know better
than to ask for miracles. I know the world

is filled with miracles. No, no, not miracles.

Take her soon, Father. Here stands the cancer doctor
asking you to take his aunt because he cannot stomach

the idea of her crushed by pain. Send me a small sign:
wheeling gulls, a sudden gust of wind, anything. Anything.
Just this once, Holy Father, don’t let me down.