At Bedtime – a poem by Jan Seagrave

At Bedtime


we are reading
about the boy
who held his finger in a dike
keeping the ocean at bay 
Rescued and back home 
he kneeled to say his prayers

             What are prayers

             my little girl asks
I swallow doubt and sigh
It's when you talk with God
tell what you need
listen for answers
say thank you
             Oh she says   then silence
             She'd heard that word before
             adults swearing 
             Oh my God

The Dutch boy in the tale
felt the water's heavy mystery
saw the odds against him
grow like the sea-wall crack
but he kept plugging the leak
He knew he needed others
to miss him
to find him
to shore up the dike
He knew who to thank

Waiting for help or ruin
did the boy whisper a plea
and listen in silence
             Quiet for now   does my girl 
             feel the current of the night
             hear the rush of salt water
             under her skin

Jan Seagrave has been a writer for universities, a storyteller, and a librarian. Her work appears or is forthcoming in San Pedro River Review;Gyroscope ReviewEunoia ReviewReverberations II, ed. Pendergast; Marin Poetry Center Anthology 2016, 2017, 2021; Redwood Writers Poetry Anthology 2018-2021; Amore: Love Poems, ed. Tucker, 2016.

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