In the Absence of Faith

His voice aged that night as he spoke quietly about the disappointment
and rage
that only a prayer could soften.
Beneath the words that bubbled in his chest
his heart beat
but he did not know what for.
I listened to his anatomy and found god
and wished he would speak instead.
The rise and fall of his chest staggered as he made sentences,
useless articulations that failed to find meaning or peace.
Occasionally I kissed him
when only his tongue clicked against the palate of his mouth
and words began to tumble back into his throat
where they stayed without breath
to push them forward again.
He did not kiss back but I tried to breathe some light in
to sustain his searching.
I held him until he slept, and in the darkness that penetrated only one of us
I prayed.

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