What I Pray For

Sacks of rocks
I have gathered from the beach,
some of which I used to toss
my own I Ching, stones representing
fire, water, wind, and the rest,
some of them with strange,
man-like markings, like circles,
probably formed by little pools of sea water,
dried by the sun, leaving behind
a round stain of salt.

Stacks of poems, sacks of rocks,
milk crates full of books
full of baloney:
I can’t let them go, not yet,
but I lie in bed and plead with God
to empty out my past, all of it,
at least all of the bad,
set me free, flush out
all the shame and rage and heartache,
but please, not the finger-paints,
not baseball and my best friends.


Deal, He says,
but all the rocks must go.
No tarot cards, and no metaphysical bull.

Fine, I say.
I have a look at my bookcase.
I see Rumi, Suzuki, Lao Tzu,
and two Bibles. So:
who will throw the first stone?

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

This week’s top U.S.-Latino Catholic news
J.D. Long-GarcíaMarch 16, 2018
U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Stephen Hawking during a ceremony at the White House in Washington Aug. 12, 2009 (CNS photo/Paul Haring).
There have been great physicists and mathematicians who were also great philosophers. Hawking, unfortunately, was not one of them.
Stephen M. BarrMarch 16, 2018
Pope Francis enters the main gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016 (CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, pool).
Poland’s Catholic primate called anti-Semitism “a moral evil and a sin.”
Catholic News ServiceMarch 16, 2018
It’s taken over a year for us to get our boss, Matt Malone, S.J. on Jesuitical—and we promise it was worth the wait.
Eloise BlondiauMarch 16, 2018