Morning Prayer

A Poem

By Chariklia Martalas


I prayed upon waking up. Not to God.
I wanted to pray to something closer.
Conscious not only of the whip of my
nightdress tangled around my legs but
that praying is more than consecutive
words. It is crinkled bed sheets and the
stale water next to the bed. It is the slow
rhythmic sound of early morning silence
and the stillness of the crisp air pressing
against the windows. Praying is more
than the sounds of my lips chanting. It
is the sun kissing the edges of the horizon
and the sleep still standing in the corners
of my eyes. I prayed precisely because it
was a morning that didn’t need remembering.
That it could be a transition of time holding
me with its hands for a moment, so intimate
that it could be forgotten. I prayed upon
waking up. Not to God but the beginning of
the day itself. So close, the words recognized
it as holy before my lips, teeth and tongue
could understand.