I’ve said the prayer you taught me
silently at bed time,
the house feathered quiet.
I’ve said it in crisis mornings,
during the wail of baby’s toothache
the mismatched socks of children.
I thought it would help
keep me daddy-connected.
Once, when I was seven,
you opened the back door
and said, “there’s nothing to see,
yet we know it’s there,”
then in your rumble voice, sang,
“The lord is one.”
You looked savagely Hungarian,
wiry eyebrows knitted up.
When you died at forty, I said it for you,
I screamed it when Samuel
pushed through me,
taking us both, corded together,
into salty love.
This prayer you taught me,
the prayer of things I couldn’t see.
Shari Berkowitz is a poetry teacher who lives with her family in Moorestown, NJ.