Lauds by Michelle Castleberry

Judge's Choice, 2018 Poetry Contest

As my headlights wash        the ditch dead fawn    she swells her praise  Selah
As the box of voices              ahead of me                      begins its laments  Lord Bless
As now my brother                 checks in at dialysis            for the washing of the blood
As marbled as an inner shell     the skin in the crook of his arm                     You open        
As a mule that speaks              his vein says I am here Lord       this bleeding is to heal
As much as possible, Lord         the fawn collapses                  births herself more gone
As the sun is higher now              Lord, you see us all            my prayers stoppered
As I pass the fawn                       holding my breath         the way my brother does
As the needle says open          then at once              all three of us exhale
As You count our hairs         Lord, every one        mounted or lost
As careful as that               You gather them all           even the ones pulled out
As we curse your name      the wind of your sighs          stirs hair and dust
As even now                        Bubba offers his worship         thrice weekly bled and blessed
As now You take our leavings         to form Another                beast that can pray to You      

Michelle Castleberry is currently a Fellow with The Makery at the Hindman Settlement School. Her first book is Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems. Her work can also be found in places such as The Chattahoochee Review and Flycatcher. She writes and serves as a clinical social worker in northeast Georgia.

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