October 2, 2013

A Prayer For Children

We pray for children
who give us sticky kisses,
who hop rocks & chase butterflies,
who stomp in puddles & ruin their new pants,
who sneak Popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who've never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,
who've never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us fistfuls of dandelions & sing off-key,
who have goldfish funerals, build card-table forts,
who slurp their cereal on purpose, 
who get gum in their hear & put sugar in their milk,
who spit toothpaste all over the sink, who hug us for no reason, who bless us each night.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store & pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed & never rinse out the tub,
who get quarters from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church & scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at & whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry & cry themselves to sleep,
who live & move, but have no being.

We pray for children
who want to be carried, & for those who must.
For those we never give up on,
& for those who don't have a chance.
For those we smother,
& for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer.

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