Origin of Prayer

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo


-After Larry Levis



            In all its simplicity to pray
is to stare at something other than yourself for once. 

            The sun digging a hole in the dirt
            with its brown thumbs lighter than a wingbeat.

Syphilitic with vision, the saint’s eyes are two white sheets
                       hanging from the branches.



                        In its infancy, to love
           was to be a man carrying another man,
           while walking toward a woman.
The night limping toward them
like another drunk man, flesh colored across the sky.

            The pretty ones inhabiting their own plot,
the splashing before the body touches the water.
            Fantasy on one side, the mouth on the other.



Perhaps God too had to look away from Himself
before stringing out neat lines of accidents
across the bottomless sky.



           Our invention of day through the runic haze
           grazing above the water.
Nothing left untouched.
           We said our names until they turned to oil.
           En la cuchara se derrama las preguntas de los niños.



Even the deer looking up and down
from the pond are men carrying other men,
bowing their heads, not knowing to what;

            a vacant box of winter
            with all its beating wings inside.

The bird inside the boy speaking for him.  



There are places where even
a severed hoof is holy.  
           What is required is not that the words
           themselves be believable,
           only that they be uttered.

God rolled into blueberries on my tongue,
swallowed like some one else’s blessing.

           Anything can be holy
           if you stare at it long enough.
           Second son.
Second God to tremble. 



           Hermosa. Impossibility of union.
           We pretend to be deer
           pretending to play dead.