prayer for improvement

by Mary M. Brown

show me how to
sound in the world,
how to
speak with a voice patient
as weeds, expectant as wheat

show me
how to listen with long
ears, how to wait
with longing for nothing
more than the taste of cold
water, the flush
of a sudden wind

lead me
to mythical sheep,
old and gently sheared
to children grown
on vines like grapes
and melons, so I can learn
how to swell and sweeten

point me
in the direction
of white cotton, dark skin

teach me to touch
the world’s wounds
with smooth hands,
their healing learned
from petals of flowers
and hammering hail

show me
how to take the warring
world to that place
where the edge of a quiet
sky bursts without warning
into the shrapnel of birdsong

MARY M. BROWN lives with her husband Bill in Anderson, Indiana. She taught literature and creative writing at Indiana Wesleyan University for many years.  Her work appears on the Poetry Foundation and American Life in Poetry websites and recently in Rockvale ReviewPlough, and JJournal.  Her work is also forthcoming in 2019 New Poetry from the Midwest and Thimble.  She is the poetry editor of Flying Island

Photo: “Peaceful Morning” by David Yu