Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Paula Green’s ‘for your heart’

for your heart

a prayer for your lungs inhaling the salted oceans
a prayer for your knees buckled in sludge and flood
a prayer for your stomach wounded by one man’s hatred
a prayer for your shoulders bearing the freight of the world
a prayer for your hips holding your small child close
a prayer for your hands that soothe and caress
a prayer for your tongue that sings to heal

a prayer for the Muslim’s heart, warm and beating
a prayer for the Christian’s heart, also warm and beating
a prayer for the beating-heart warmth of the tangata whenua
a prayer for the beating-heart warmth of Afghan refugees, so recently welcomed
a prayer for your heart beating in time with the sun and the stars
a prayer for your heartache traversing the rough and the wild
a prayer for your heart in sync with the land and the water
a prayer for she and he and they

a prayer for your ears listening to ever-bleak media feeds
a prayer for your eyes breaking up over images and statistics
a prayer for your fingers unravelling daily knots and tough choices
a prayer for your tiredness and a prayer for your despair
a prayer for your silence and a prayer for your protest
a prayer for your movement over corrugated roads and bendy tracks
a prayer for the lonely and the unloved or the led astray

a prayer for your face that shuts out the name-calling
a prayer for your arms that lower the raised weapon
a prayer for your leaders that face boulders and crevasses
a prayer for your legs that cross cruel divides and welcome bridges
a prayer for your body that is sick or wounded or dying

a prayer for the blue sky overhead with the kerurū coasting 
a prayer for your children lost in daydream kites and story locomotives
a prayer for your children digging garden soil and planting spring seeds
a prayer for kawakawa leaves brewing and manukā balm
a prayer for your lentil soup warming and your words of love
a prayer for your arms open wide and your arms embracing

a prayer for your heart
a prayer for your heart
a prayer for your heart
yes you and you and you

Paula Green

September, West Auckland

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