Prayer for the Dead

my heart
dresses in
black lace
when I slide beads slowly
through my practiced hands
their surfaces warm
worn smooth
against calloused
fingertips
it is the tender tissue
of my throat
that stings
as I murmur
their names
one by one
in order of loss
head bowed
in the candlelight
or I must return
to the beginning
start again
the ritual must be
performed perfectly
at the alter
of my dead

© 2018 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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