How to Pray

by Jessica Jacobs

Forget ecstasy, that easy leap outside the body.
Our bodies are already up on blocks, listing
and unsightly in the yard. No. The way to God
is not around the world but through it. So dig
your heels in to your heels; flex your fists, your
jaw. Then release to become for an instance all
ear: listen out, listen up to branch sawing branch
like a giant violin; listen in—there’s your blood’s
steady loop-the-loop. Cue eyes: a seizure of light
through the leaves. And tongue: slick of iron
from a nicked gum and you’re five again, last
little tooth on its last little strand, wagging
with your breath like a swing. Now, nose: breathe
in the dirt, astir as it is with beetles and rot and light-
seeking shoots. And, finally, be all skin: like a kid’s
face squashed to an aquarium window,
presence up so hard to the edge of your husk
you’re joined with the wind rivering the cool air
to silk. Only then should you give yourself to joy, dive
from the twin heights of your eyes. And that tiny pool
below, the one you’re hurtling toward? It’s not God—
well, not exactly. It’s you. One breath deeper than you’ve
ever been, one breath closer to the heeded, heedful world.

Last updated January 29, 2024