Possible Answers to Prayer By Scott Cairns

Your petitions—though they continue to bear   
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.   
Your anxieties—despite their constant,

relatively narrow scope and inadvertent   
entertainment value—nonetheless serve   
to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath   
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more   
conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent concern for the sick,   
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes   
recognizable to me, if not to them.

Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly   
righteous indignation toward the many   
whose habits and sympathies offend you—         

these must burn away before you’ll apprehend   
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.


Scott Cairns, “Possible Answers to Prayer” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted with the permission of Zoo Press.

Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)

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