The John Edward Johnson Prize
Frances J. Pearce
My Mind Wanders During the Morning Service
…and for the young ones, we pray for a tranquil world.
we pray for the infirm, ask that you heal them, Lord Jesus.
Head bowed and using a pencil with purple lead, I write
marginalia. Pad Thai, spring rolls, salad, on these I’ll lunch.
From here, I’ll walk toward East Bay counting piazzas
where coleuses grow in ornate containers. When we lived
in Mainaschaff, we wished for growing things. Stretched
and nailed upon the cross... We planted a coleus indoors,
snipped off lateral shoots, retained two leaves and a single
stem. It grew eight feet high. Here, Spanish moss pours
off the outstretched branches of live oaks. The sky turns
rose at sunset. Once, stooping to pick up a bottle cap,
I slipped off the curb. A car whizzed past, speeding
like a Porsche on the Autobahn. And dear heavenly
Father, we ask…That day, he slept in, rose at sunset.
Now, my hands grow gnarled. From our daughter
I learned about his tattered lung. Jesus, blessed savior,
hear our prayers. Today I pray for him.
I pray for our daughter, our son-in-law,
and the young ones. And I ask for a tranquil world.