A Servant’s Prayer

by Mark Wunderlich

Mark Wunderlich

Oh Tenderhearted, O Kindhearted,
you who have spared us from eternal servitude,

by torturing and killing your only child,
we know what you can do.

Only you can spare us
from a world in which the Creature

presses his stinking hoof to our neck,
the tyrant who supervises a petty bureaucracy

rich with oil and other filth, covers his sow-bride’s
fat Bahama-tanned paw with a crust of diamonds.

You have chosen to keep me in a state
of service, beholden to a mustachioed czarina

isolated and confused and grandiose,
which is, I confess, a trial.

I beg you, assuage my bitterness.
Help me to know that this is your will,

and help keep me from resenting
those, who despite their meager talents,

their pettiness and appetite for derision,
wield power over me. My service here

though of this world, is not meant for this world
bent of uglification and strife.

Part the curtain and let me glimpse
your gleaming hem.

Remind me that behind this knotted tapestry
of tasks and humiliations

is a shining world that must remain hidden
so it may remain unspoiled. When Misti

severed her thumb and wrapped it
is a swaddle of cloth, afraid to tell management

lest she lose her job, I glimpsed you,
there at the pearly bone flush with crimson,

beautiful and fragile and lit with the pain
of our kind. At the hospital, she was made whole

again, though I’m certain she bears the scar to this day,
though you were secreted, once again,

beneath the surgeon’s arrogant work.
I am grateful for the power in my body;

help guard it from poisons, keep my sleeve
far from the spinning shaft, my skin free from

tick bites, stray dogs, the mule’s twisting
ivory teeth. Help me keep my strength,

and practice diligence and mercy,
like your son, sawing and swinging his hammer,

walking home on dusty feet
to a meal someone worked all morning

to prepare.

Last updated October 20, 2022