Now I lay me down to sleep—
to sleep, to drift off peacefully,
to quiet the pinging thoughts, the lists of things undone, problems to solve,
to ignore the rhythmic breaths of the man so near,
so oblivious to my vigil.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep—
from dangers within and without,
and the dark creeping thoughts of all the what-ifs,
the evil in the world,
the evil in my heart,
conspirators who would steal my struggling joy.
If I should die before I wake—
What a horror to put in a child’s prayer.
What a fearsome phrase to create the possibility of setting off,
falling from this spinning planet,
setting off unprepared to an unknown . . .
fearful enough to make a child not forget to say her prayers on bare knees
on bare floors.
The discomfort had to count for something.
at this age, death is more possible,
I fear it less because
I pray the Lord my soul to take
and the life dance with those who already see what is more real—
more real than this shadow,
to be swept up,
into loving arms
and know the depths of love
where my deep anguish calls to His deep provision
and I am home.