Prayer Underneath an Elm Tree in Late Afternoon At the water's edge, I count Cypress knees, their knobby arthritic bones jutting from the ground like ancient stalactites. Under the wind, the water's surface looks scaled, etched, much like the medieval scalloped roofs of the stave church at Borgund. I recall last Sunday's Eucharist. On Easter, through the sterility of bandwidth, I waded through the General Confession, Prayers of the People, and lamented an absent sacrament. The night before, I had politely declined the priest's offer to collect the consecrated wafer for Sunday's Eucharist, choosing to keep a safe distance instead. Today's prayer is uncommon and wordless but no less weighted with meaning. The winds heave their intermittent sighs, and the birds blooming in the trees are incessant in their song. I slough the burden of the last months like heavy skin, the scales collapsing in unison at my feet. I step out and lean against the fractured elm, in the knowledge that the limbs above me shall share their own unspoken grace.
Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, and hails from the muggy strangelands of the Southern U.S. Her work has appeared in various literary journals and magazines, including Right Hand Pointing, Clementine Unbound, Déraciné, Neologism Poetry Journal, Coffin Bell: a journal of dark literature, Ephemeral Elegies, and The Lake. Read more of her work at laurastringfellow.com.