PRAYER TO THE GOD OF MERCY
The full moon, lingering in this congested sky
is a stethoscope examining the forecast
of oxygen passing through the lungs
of the god of mercy.
This moon above Chester County Hospital
reminds me of the orbit of a smaller moon,
the silver sphere the doctor uses to discern
which tempest migrated from the heavens
and took up residence in my wife’s chest, decimating
small towns in the heartland of her lungs.
We wait for the diagnosis, like pilots
of a weather plane measuring the vitals of the storm,
lost in the windpipe off a hurricane.
We wait for a sign — I see each inhale and exhale
become all the moon phases she has witnessed.
Three decades of guardians
keeping vigil over her breath, swirling through
the joyous wind tunnel of her lungs on nights
like these when everything is eclipse and umbra.
When the tornado swept across cornfields a breath
away from our home. when the inferno at her childhood home
filled her lungs with so much smoke.
Even now, when the angel of death walks
the earth with a virus and a scythe,
and asks for the women I love.
Moonlight lives in her chest,
making a way in the dark, casting halos of light,
commanding the world to be angelic.
The small moon rises from behind her back,
through the concussive thrashing of her coughs,
and dense clouds of pneumonia inside her lungs,
and writes us a prescription, which I repeat
as I keep vigil by her hospital bed
Until the god of mercy listens.