Jane Varley

Prayer at 20 Degrees below Zero

Oh dear God, it is cold
today. I am glad they leave the doors unlocked.

This church smells of the dark holiday
when I made a mark in my palm
with the crucifixion nail.

Remember what a good girl I was?
When you read my mind
my words must have been visible
inside the smooth chambers.

I prayed with a vengeance.
I love the light in the church.
It feels holy in here, dim,
with color diffused in air.
Outside, it is so bright and cold,

I could not keep my eyes open.
That made me think of you.

I'd like to come here
I'd like to mean the words,
when I say them.


The 2River View, 4_1 (Fall 1999)