Lex Orandi

by Lily Jurskis

The prayer law formed to print on page, in ink
bleeding into people, into the tips
of their fingers, mistakenly transferred
onto their clothes and the arc of their brows;
causing parents to put heavy hands on
the shoulders of restless giggling children,
slowly learning the syntax of this place:
how to hold a conversation inside
a song, a psalm, inside the baritone
of hymns: a tone so low their ears can’t hear
but stirs the cave of air inside their chests:
the loud, felt, silent God existing in
the grammar, in each verb and noun granted
clause, God the lexeme core of every form.
The people of the book, their bodies bound
paper sewn, all strung together, stacked
hymnals in their leather jackets, stir
inside their roles, their quires the stage in which
they move, the movement is the prayer, in which
they sing, the music is the prayer, in which
the rise and fall of cadence creating
this scansion: standing stress, kneeling unstress–
or maybe kneeling stress, standing unstress;
metrical deviation in recitation,
heads bent, knees bent, backs sloped, breathing commas,
this ritual beats like a great iamb and I am that I am

Lily Jurskis is a visual artist and poet in Huntington, West Virginia. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in literary studies, creative writing from Marshall University, where she also works as the poetry and visual art editor of the literary magazine Et Cetera.