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Prayer to a Purple God

Prayer to a Purple God

She sits tying
and untying the scarf
at her neck. If only
she could do it perfectly,
the puzzle would come together.
She'd know why
Todd had fallen
down the steps,
why he lay on that bed,
a gauze crown
hiding the place
where duck down used to grow.

Now there is only smoke
in the eyes he doesn't open.
She remembers him saying
just this morning
that God must live on earth,
not in the sky,
otherwise He'd never
get to walk barefoot
in wet grass
or have chocolate ice cream
or jump naked into a stream.
Todd understood why
God didn't want to be seen.
He dreamed God
had a purple face.

Sheets billow like clouds
around his still body.
Heart monitors are disturbing,
as if crickets
might appear any second
from under the beds.
She is a stage mother
urging him to perform
for neurologists and nurses.
"Wake up, Todd,
tell us your name.
How many fingers
am I holding up.
What is your puppy's name?"

She knows every corner
and cushion of the waiting room.
Hours telescope into weeks
and still the recognition,
the "Gee, Mom,
what's for supper"
is only a memory.

In early morning hours
she watches the sky turn
from gray to crimson
and she prays to her God
and to all the purple gumdrops
in the cupboard,
to the grape juice in the fridge,
to the foxglove, the hyacinth
that they retrieve their color
from Todd's face, his hands,
from the basement shadows,
from the stem of his brain.