After Visiting Southwark Cathedral
A public prayer board, small notes asking God to bless
the homeless, the hungry, the helpless, the lonely,
a sick mother, a deceased uncle, a man job-hunting,
carers, peacemakers and more, and one sticks out,
written by a child, early-learning handwriting,
deliberate letters in painstaking ballpoint, on a slant
from the top to the middle of the paper:
Father, please put things back to normal.
A child putting in a request for God to put things back to normal.
A child. A child. A child.
Maybe trouble at home or at school or in the big world,
a child realising the life he or she has been born into,
the years of baby joy ebbing, pampering attention fading,
innocence dissolving, happiness interrupted forever,
giving way to worry, purity stained and now rough-edged.
‘Put things back to normal’ added to God’s to-do list.
Joe Cushnan was born and raised in Belfast. Now retired after a long retail management career across the UK, he devotes time to writing. He has a portfolio of published features, reviews, poetry and short fiction.