He prays for
the two lobsters
left in the sink,
by his father.
The boy knows
there is no hope, even
when he pours water
over their heads
producing temporary comfort,
a twitch of worry–if he fills the sink
too far they might leap out.
He thinks of people forced to jump
off the top of burning buildings.
Streams of water deflect off
their brown bent shells. The ocean
as far away from them as any love
in the world from him. Any minute
his parents will be back; he surrenders
upstairs to his bedroom, hits his knees
in guilt, prays the lobsters won’t feel
the pain of being boiled alive.
He’ll strike a deal with God, if He exists
that prayers be answered conclusively,
he walks downstairs to find his mother
moving the lobsters to the freezer.
Timothy Gager is the author of nine books of fiction and poetry. He lives on www.timothygager.com.