Prayer for Something Like a Home

by Brian Simoneau

Let me learn to love
this land, the lay of
the highways, the maze
of crooked one-ways
cobbled together
in colonial
haste. Give me a place
to linger, to wait
for sirens to drown
in distance, for wind
to gust, its bluster
among the maples
almost mistaken
for a forest song.
If long winters claim
me, let me come from
cold and know myself
by slogging toward home
through snow. I will don
the proper smock, wear
a hairshirt molded
to my bones, worn soft
in all the right spots.
If landscape once was
sacramental, then
let me dig in mud
and dust, smear its mark
across my brow, wash
my feet in moving
waters when I step
into its river,
and let me never
find the other side.
Let me learn to name
this green, that purple,
chartreuse and lilac,
lavender. Let me
welcome ash-gray skies
as perfect background
for colors coming
out of nowhere, gift
we must let go of.

From No Small Comfort (Black Lawrence Press, 2021); first published in Salamander (Issue 42, 2016).

Writing Prompt: Using a repeated word or phrase, write a poem as a series of desires, wishes, requests, or demands for something that feels like it’s missing from life these days. Let the language and rhythms of litany or incantation determine the direction of the poem.


Brian Simoneau is the author of the poetry collections No Small Comfort (Black Lawrence Press, 2021) and River Bound (C&R Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Salamander, Waxwing, and other journals. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, he lives near Boston with his family.