Marcus Wicker

Plea to My Jealous Heart

            Pray without ceasing.

            —St. Paul


What’s funny is that you think I can stop praying.

That you think I take existence—blown dandelion

across a philtrum—lightly, as irresponsible

birdsong. As the wren, finch, chickadee & prairie warbler.

As scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, laughing gull, trumpeter

swan. As common sparrows

outside my window canting dervish loops. Sparrows

that court the air & multiply. As all the love

at all times, everywhere, you think I take too much in.

You think I take communion wine for granted. Sometimes

the other wine touches me sweetly & you know it. All

the time you know it. This & how communion wine

indebts me—as the man granted new eyes

on a hiking trip. How, when his boot met wet dune, he felt

the sinking in. & still you think I can stop praying? How

hummingbird? How sailfish? Mother of pearl moth, little

dragonfly. Old, faithful greyhound. O elephant herd

in a room of rodents, how you have me! Have me

delirious, haggard—hungrier. To hear you

at all times, if it’ll keep you redlining reverently.

That’s how I love you best. As stethoscope, not

scalpel. As ever-flickering filament, not

kite-adjoined key. Forgive me, a sinner afraid

of lightning, but when I ask you out, o whistling

tail pipe, you suck air from lungs. I inhale & need you

& you know it. As whisper. As hum. As trade wind 

& storm, you show yourself no matter my asking.

& when I ask, o elegant cyclone, you wrench flesh

from bone, bone from hip socket. What’s funny is that

tender tendon is the blessing & you know my bird bones.

My blood, you course it. You know my slow capacity

for recovery. What’s funny is I feel bad for that

& you think I can stop praying? When my lover locks

our pinkies in a crowded art gallery, I praise the body, praise

every kissable knuckle, every painstakingly etched wave

in a fingerprint, & you think I could take a host for granted

o center of every body? O, all-knowing ebbless red sea

I want to look in your face & live this beautifully always.

O metacarpal, proximal, o distal phalange, all-powerful finger

in a breast plate, touch me light as a feather, please, jog in place.