instructions for change

by Amy Cannon

instructions for change

       go away from here       flee

your white-washed cell       and your work

       do not close the door       but go       leaving it open


if you are thirsty       drink from the sea

       it will prove sweet       and do not fear

being thirsty later on       god is here

       god is everywhere


how should one pray?

       the old man said       there is no need

to make long discourses       it is enough       to stretch out your hands

       and say       have mercy       and if the conflict grows       say help


an anchorite able to banish demons asked them       what is it that makes you go?

       I say my little office

is it fasting?       they said we do not eat or drink

       I pray and meditate

vigils?       they said we do not sleep

       I live in peace

separation from the world?       we live in deserts

       what else can I do?

what sends you away?       nothing can overcome us they said       only humility

       the old man stood up       and stretched his hands toward heaven 

       his fingers became       like ten lamps of fire       he said

               why not be utterly changed into fire?





Amy Katherine Cannon is a writer and writing teacher living in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from UC Irvine, where she was the recipient of the Gerard Creative Writing Endowment. She is the author of the mini-chapbook ‘to make a desert’ (Platypus Press, 2016). Her work can be found in BOAAT, BODY, Juked, and LIT, among other places. She is Managing Editor of Palaver Arts Magazine, a student publication.