In Your Prison

David Harrity

Ask for your father’s life and it will be given to you.

But treacheries and dreams may be your only inheritance:
proud shocks of wheat bowed down, dancing stars—
a ladder of smoke.

Which will you write down?
Learn to scatter wolves, the thimbleful of evil
in your brothers.

Believe that what seems graceless
will unravel to a kind of faith,
even if your prayers are never right.

Pile the figures of your family’s famous monsters
on a makeshift altar.

In your prison, do not forget the small things:
peace and silence are not the same,
but both are pulses—
present in the right touch of the skin.

What is your faith but the moment
when you fell asleep listening,
ear pressed hard to the thundering in the earth?

The day is coming where you will have to speak—
God is not so simple a thought
that he can be starved from anyone.

And what will you tell the fretful king
when he asks what his
nightmares mean?

Reach back again and again, your brilliant coat hanging on a peg
in the dark.

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David Harrity is Assistant Professor of English at Campbellsville University’s Louisville Center. He is author of the meditative, community-building writing guide “Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand.” As the director of ANTLER (, he travels the country conducting workshops and lectures on the intersection of faith and imagination. He completed an M.F.A at Spalding University.

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