The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 8 no. 2


D. Nurkse

A Prayer of Abandonment


Pain has been very patient with me,
teaching something of terrible importance.
Night after night I still don’t understand—
is it a word or a gesture?

I am a slow student
at wit’s end with myself.
If the test were tonight
all I could recite
would be: Clock, Mirror,
Curtain, Vase, Darkness.

I have not even mastered
the steps receding in the hall.