D.A. Lockhart — Ritual Prayer

Let us go at this again, the physical preparation for the spirituals return of the kingdom promised us, as our great-grandfathers fell to pox and our grandmothers to black robe schools. Let us do this again, steady hands urging the land through muscle memory swung and collided against skin pulled taut like life itself. Delivered like cattails in wind. Done again, our arms made to tower, raised then lowered in the downbeat, those stalks rising above culverts and roadside ditches. Movement is the artifact the soul remembers, long past the tales of treatied then ransomed lands, before the need to tell survivor stories, in unison the drum hollers of things stolen, recreates them. Let us go at this again, the act called prayer in our way. Because southern winds have gone this path before and the cries we throw to a sky still wide-open and to the tree-line that runs on, itself the horizon of all things worth knowing. And the call becomes the prayer and the rhythm of hands the orenda, so there might be something of us in the time we have yet to inherit. Copyright © D.A. Lockhart. Originally appeared in Grain, Vol. 45.2, Winter 2018. D.A. Lockhart is the author of four collections of poetry including Devil in the Woods (Brick Books, 2019) and The Gravel Lot that Was Montana (Mansfield Press, 2018) His work has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations and has received generous support from the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. He is the publisher at Urban Farmhouse Press. A Turtle Clan member of the Moravian of the Thames First Nation, Lockhart currently resides at Waawiiyaataanong on the south shore of the Detroit River (most often referred to as the border cities of Windsor ON and Detroit MI). Grain, the journal of eclectic writing, is a literary quarterly out of Saskatchewan that publishes engaging and challenging writing and art by Canadian and international writers and artists. Every issue features new writing from both developing and established writers. Each issue also highlights the unique artwork of a different visual artist. www.grainmagazine.ca