Learning To Pray

Learning To Pray

Learning To Pray 150 150 Abigail Carroll

When I say I have passed the afternoon
watching loosestrife lean against the wind
at the edge of the lake, what I mean is this:

I have stepped into prayer, not unlike Peter
stepping out of the boat, and it has held me,
as prayer does, like a child holds a penny

or a butterfly resting its wings. When slippage
occurs, as it’s wont to do, and I begin to sink
through unraveling molecules of faith like

a dream sinks back into the dark when dawn
dissolves the net of sleep, something catches
me the way air catches a parachute or the bowl

of a spring buttercup catches light, and there is,
in the catching, a grip, which is a new kind of
drowning, not unpleasant, though it surprises

at first. It’s like losing yourself to an embrace
in which the more you are lost, the more surely
you are found; it’s like the flooding of sun

on the map of your skin, into your cells and
the spaces between your cells, until you are
sewn into its very warmth, which, you realize

is singing. How often have I stood at the edge
of the lake gazing, wholly unsure what it means
to pray but willing to step out, willing to go

down, slip through the watery blue particles
precisely for this: to be caught, to be salvaged
again and again, to know once more that hand.



Get Abigail Carroll’s latest poetry collection, A Gathering of Larks: Letters to Saint Francis from a Modern-Day Pilgrim, at Amazon and Eerdmans.


Abigail Carroll

Abigail Carroll is author of A Gathering of Larks: Letters to Saint Francis from a Modern-Day Pilgrim (Eerdmans, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including the Anglican Theological Review, The Christian Century, Midwest Quarterly, Ruminate, and Sojourners, and her prose has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post. Carroll serves as Pastor of Arts and Spiritual Formation at Church at the Well in Burlington, Vermont.

All posts by Abigail Carroll