Direct Address

I’m trying to find out who wrote
every prayer, but it isn’t the wisdom
most readily dug up, not like when
training a dog you must look it
in the eye or other aphorisms
of good sense. Yes, I’m in line to get bit,
never checking, long swearing
that F. Scott Fitzgerald so pitied
newsboys out in the rain, he would buy
all their papers. He was named
for Francis Scott Key, and likely
knew where to give thanks
for that, but not for prayers, of which
there are many, uttered up to the same
God or none, if one’s faith forbids

the specific. They say war’s no time
to shy from direct address, dear foxhole
cry or jungle bomb that who
inscribed——— DEAR VIET CONG

*

Natalie Shapero is the author of No Object (Saturnalia, 2013). She writes and teaches at Kenyon College, where she is a Kenyon Review Fellow.

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