Matthew Shenoda

A Prayer for My People

That one day
we will wish
to be nothing more
than what we are.


That we will see
within ourselves
the liberation of nations, of concrete.


That we will understand
the inevitability
in the lines of our hands.


          There is a war raging in our backyard
          With it my sister’s spirit burns


That the fire of my sister’s spirit
will consume our enemies
& burn our streets clean.


           There’s a system of mangled necks
           Whose heads speak with oracle tongues


That we should learn to walk
with wounded feet


That our eyes must be liberated
from their granite


That our hands re-root themselves
from the pools of acid rain


           There’s a river forming in the bureaucrat’s head
           Its water made from rusted milk


That we may understand this false constructed world
& know:


Holy things
Do not die!

Matthew Shenoda
“A Prayer for My People” appeared in Somewhere Else (Coffee House Press, 2005).