“Prayer” by Kim Addonizio.

Sometimes, when we’re lying after love,
I look at you and see your body’s future
of lying beneath the earth; putting the heel
of my hand against your rib I feel how faint
and far away the heartbeat is. I rest
my cheek against your left nipple and listen
to the surge of blood, seeing your life splashed out,
filmy water hurled from a pot
onto dry grass. And I want to be pressed
deep into the bed and covered over,
the way a seed is pressed into a hole,
the dirt tramped down with a trowel.
I want to be a failed seed, the kind
that doesn’t grow, that doesn’t know it’s meant to.
I want to lie here without moving, lifeless
as an animal that’s slaughtered, its blood smeared
on a doorpost, I want death to take me if it
has to, to spare you, I want it to pass over.

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