The DMQ Review

from the February 2002 issue

Copyright © 2002 Bob Dornberg

Author's Prayer

If I speak for the dead, I must
leave this animal of my body,

I must write the same poem over and over
for the empty page is a white flag of their surrender.

If I speak of them, I must walk
on the edge of myself, I must live as a blind man

who runs through the rooms without
touching the furniture.

Yes, I live. I can cross the streets asking "What year is it?"
I can dance in my sleep and laugh

in front of the mirror.
Even sleep is a prayer, Lord,

I will praise your madness, and
in a language not mine, speak

of music that wakes us, music
in which we move. For whatever I say

is a kind of petition and the darkest days
must I praise.

Ilya Kaminsky
Copyright © 2002

Ilya Kaminsky has won the National Russian Essay Contest, the National Shepardi Prize for Poetry and most recently, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry. In 1999-2000, he served as a George Bennett Fellow Writer-In-Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy. His manuscript, From the Province of Gratitude, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and for the Walt Whitman Award. Current poems, essays, reviews and interviews appear or are forthcoming in Salmagundi, Doubletake, Southwest Review, Tikkun, The American Writing, Literary Review, Web Del Sol and other publications.

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