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Prayer Chain
Tim Nolan


My mother called to tell me
about an old classmate of mine who

was dying on the parish prayer chain—
or was very sick—or destitute—

or it had not worked out—the marriage—
or the kids were all on drugs—and

all the old mothers were praying intensely
for all the pain of their children

and for life—they were praying for life—
in their quiet rooms—sipping decaf coffee—

I bet they’ve been praying for me at times—
so I’ll find my way—so I won’t rob a bank—

I’ll take them—the mystical prayers of old mothers—
it matters—all this patient and purposeful love. 

From The Sound of It (New Rivers Press, 2008).
This poem first appeared on The Writer's Almanac.

© by Tim Nolan.
Used here with the author’s permission.

Tim Nolan likes to write poems about "everyday things," as he calls them, from Brussels sprouts to cockroaches. His favorite place to write is in the front yard of his home in Minnesota, where he lives with his wife and their three teenage children. Often featured in prestigious print journals, Tim leads a double life as a litigation attorney, a career he declares quite compatible with being a poet. Read more of his work here.

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