exhale: a prayer of adoration

reconciling with what has always been

[to be recited with the fervor of a Black Baptist preacher with sweat gleaming on his/her/their temples, with the stillness of a child asleep after playing all day, with the joy of your belly after poundcake, with longing, with a desire to spend your days loving her so fiercely in gratitude for her being, for your breathing]

Our mother, who art beneath, above, through, and within, hallowed be thy presence for you have never needed a name to be, have never asked to be held by our tongues for ransom, will always. Hallowed be you, giver we do not deserve. Hallowed be thy existence despite all they have taken, all I have taken as they taught me to take — without permission, reverence, or gratitude.

Thy kingdom is. Thy kingdom, this ground, has always been and shall remain far long after I leave this place. Thy will — thy will be done even if it means revenge, even if it means this moment — this meditation of sweaty gratitude is all that I have left.

Give us this day. No. What can I give? I am new here — not new to you, but new to understanding who you are to me. I, your prodigal child, come bearing nothing but wonder, but curiosity, but fear because I do not know you. In breathing, I take more than I will ever be able to give back to you and still you give. You are a fool to give to those who only seek to take, but I am grateful for your foolishness in waiting for me to arrive.

Forgive me. I cannot speak nor promise for others. I can barely promise for myself and I will be honest — I will break it. I do not know how to care for you. Most days, I can barely care for myself.

You are better than me. I do not forgive those who trespass. When I am with you, I like to dream that you have not forgiven, that you are petty. That you are waiting for when we need you most to remind us of our sins. Vengeance is like lavender to the souls of folk like us — it tastes like sweet tea with just enough sugar to melt away all that bitter you been holding.

I am tempted to capture you like we always do. I will not. I will sit here between sky and ground, allowing you to be without taking more than I need. What I need is far less than I ever imagined. You are enough and I am learning that I, too, can be enough.

I am listening and breathing —
on this mountain,
in this kingdom,
on this day,
in your presence, power, and glory.

I wish I could stay forever and ever.

Sky to earth, tree to stream, ash to bloom.
You have taught me that returning is inevitable.
And for that I am grateful.

Ah —

boston-based lit educator, researcher, and mixtape maker raised at the intersections of gospel and go-go. find [them] dreaming and working toward liberation.

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