Attention is Prayer, Curative

by Jenny Grassl

burn cinnamon your remorse
I will attend your systole and flu

favor speckle for heart take foxglove
burden in its tonic please don’t die

I do beseech you beloved and strange
bowed with soft shoulders of penitence

charcoal absorbing nausea petting your dog
wring hands sanitized wash wash

I see you work finger down to twitch
exorcise slam chemo at what’s left

you recover in hospice sniffing patchouli
gaze with Moses upon the snake

can grief be made to eat and faults
to persuade of sugar in the room

what poor planet for you by half a-melt
shall I stud with cloves a pomander

to hang in the stars to cure in the closet
of the known infected universe

Previously published online in The Iowa Review (April 2020) as a National Poetry Month feature.

Writing Prompt:
Write about a cure you were given as a child. It could be Luden’s cough drops. It could also be a raw onion placed in your room to absorb the germs. It could be Echinacea tea, or aspirin, or chemotherapy. Connect the cure to your childhood experiences. 


Jenny Grassl

Jenny Grassl was raised in Pennsylvania, and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her poems have appeared in The Boston Review, Rhino Poetry, Phantom Drift, Ocean State Review, The Massachusetts Review, Rogue Agent, and Inverted Syntax. Her work is included in the anthology Humanagerie (Eibonvale Press, 2018). Her poetry also appears in BOSTON, from the cities series of Dostoyevsky Wannabe Press, and in a National Poetry Month feature of The Iowa Review. Her poems are forthcoming from Lana Turner Journal.