Naomi Thiers


What mothers pray, mothers who believe
in serial killers, rapists and subway pushers
Is a phrase in the languageless dark:
Not her, me. Not him, me.
It's not a bargain we've thought out.
It's Protestant bargaining.
Catholics have saints to rub, and Jews
have no illusion of any say in the matter
of who is chosen
But at Hope Lutheran, they talked of the cross
not as love or guilt, more
like losing the lottery big:
Someone lives, and someone
has to give up both kidneys:
Not enough life to go around.
Which is why I left the church and why
I can't stop trading organ donor cards
in the dark with a black-market hospital orderly
who might be God or one hell of a con man
but who just might agree to rig the wheel.

Naomi Thiers' award-winning first collection of poetry Only the Raw Hands Are Heaven was published by Washington Writers' Publishing House in 1992. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have been published in many magazines, including Virginia Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Poet Lore, Antietam Review, and Pacific Review. She works as a magazine editor and the mother of a teenager, in Washington, DC.



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