Poison Pie Publishing House: A Prayer for Those Who Sleep in the Cold

A Prayer for Those Who Sleep in the Cold

Lord, fresh from the comfort of a warm bed,
I offer a prayer for those who sleep in the cold.
As autumn arrives, the migrant songbirds flee,
the leaves begin to brown at the edges,

and those without safe haven brace for night.
Lord, send an angelic emissary down to inspect
Your people who lie curled in tight balls,
instinctively minimizing their surface to volume ratio

to lessen their heat loss. Let the flutter
of Your angel's wings not disturb the cardboard
intended to present a barrier to the wind
and to provide an insulating layer that slows

the convective heat loss from their bodies,
which shiver, it is claimed, as a physiological
mechanism to create warmth by expending energy.
Lord, direct Your agent into their dreams.

How long has it been since you walked
through the glacial thoughts of one counting minutes
until the relief of sleep dulls the bite of the cold,
only to wake in a moonlight free of whimsy to find

the routine and entirely unremarkable truth
that, with the deepening night, the temperature
has further fallen? There is no relief.
Lord, if it falls outside Your plan,

to offer succor to the cold, this I ask:
in the walls of the bedrooms of the warm,
have Your angel loosen planks, disturb
the fiberglass insulation, welcome drafts

that sidle beneath blankets and prompt dreams
of their own, in which the sleeper finds oneself
surrounded by a people of bone, aching with chill
from gusts expelled with each of our gentle breaths.

A Prayer for Those Who Sleep in the Cold
David Keffer
Knoxville, TN
October 6, 2014