Sunday Poem

The shortest prayer I was ever taught was

no: what other name could a god have:

I named my son after my dead
grandfathers: blood and not blood

gather around the bent-corner Kodak
altar: I learned to cook by fetching ingredients

one by one: carrying them between
the kitchen and her swollen hands: I can

play cards and hold my liquor because I have
his blood: inheritance is what we can hold onto

not what we are given: my grandmother’s ring
was meant for me: my mother gave it away:

I kept his name: gave what I could
to my son: if I had a god who said yes: I’d ask

harder questions: where were you:
when Sandy walked through

my neighborhood: upended trees and sudden
opened roofs: my neighbor’s house and the world

could see where her baby slept: I like the new vinyl siding
and newer owners: if bad luck knew where I lived

I’d move: I broke a child once
twice: I was broken once

twice: I did what I had to do:

my mother can make ground beef
and ketchup and vinegar into my brother’s favorite food:

my favorite bible story is the one where our unlikely hero
feeds thousands with just a few fish and sleight

of hands: I have said god’s name and been ignored
so long: the night filled with prayer

by Nicole Homer
Split This Rock

Nicole Homer is a New Jersey based writer and educator. Her work can be found in the American Academy of Poets Poem-a-Day, Muzzle, The Offing, Winter Tangerine, Rattle, The Collagist, and elsewhere. A fellow of both The Watering Hole and Callaloo, Nicole serves as an Editor and regular contributor at BlackNerdProblems, writing critique of media and pop culture, and as faculty at the Pink Door Writing Retreat for Women and Gender Non-conforming Writers of Color.