Prayer Asking For Patience and Compassion

Tom C. Hunley

Remember all those profiles of teen girls

in foster care, how we grieved

that we could only bring one home?

Remember those girls, Lord,

how the social workers advised:

this one bit her foster siblings

and is on lockdown; this one lit

a firecracker under a sleeping cat

and will soon age out of the system;

this one has falsely accused men and boys

in three foster homes and will ruin

your reputation; and this one (the one who

joined our family, thank you Lord)

ate shoplifted groceries with her

siblings as their birth mother

nodded off under the spell of heroin

and both men in her home

were unregistered sex offenders.

When she confessed to sneaking

onto our computer at night, encouraging

some boy to send dick picks

to her secret social media page,

how I raged, angry at him, afraid

for her. Lord, only you know

how many men and boys have shown her

their ugly sides. Composing myself,

I told her never to send pictures of her

body, but if she did, never to include her

face, because porn is a thing

and revenge porn is also a thing.

Thank you for keeping her off drugs —

but help me to see her

as myself at her age,

trembling in the county detox ward,

waiting for a room to open up

in a rehab center, and help me

be like the junkie I met there,

who said Hey, I only have one cigarette,

it’s really all I have, but why don’t you take it?


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