A Man of Unclean Lips Considers Prayer

for Nicole

The angel was kind, a school nurse
applying the live coal like a bandage. Antiseptic

white, wings rolled to his elbows,
his hands were like my own, which should have seemed

more strange. His voice was feather-soft,
familiar. I guess I expected to go under –

wasn’t surgery required?
The infection went so deep

I was certain it would take a blade.

Just a touch of heat.
No scalded stub of cigarette on flesh

or punishment of metal on the skin.
Just a touch of heat,

as if he’d rubbed his palms together fast and light,
then laid them on my wound.

Prayer is simply this:
I have nothing to explain.