Trader

There is only one prayer

shadows recognize,

 

only one they permit

to escape the center

 

of each night,

the pendular tick

 

of your grandfather's clock,

let run the sleepless

 

border of your bed,

or experience the heft

 

of her cancer,

the sinking of days

 

beneath her like sand:

Lord, let it be me.

 

Nothing else works,

nothing else evades

 

the simple truth

that God, the Irish say,

 

hates a coward;

they might have added,

 

prefers a deal,

requires a trade.

 

George Lober