Prayer for Orlando by Sarah McCall

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


Yes, love is love is love is love is love is love
and guns are guns are guns are guns are guns

I say my prayer 49 times, 50, 53 — hammering
breath against the vacant walls of my chest
the President says thoughts and prayers aren’t enough

not enough breath to revive the pulse of 49 dead
Oh it’s a motherfucker, isn’t it? That the internet

can’t explain dying, can’t observe a moment of silence —
I climbed 49 stairs to make my pulse bleed harder

ducked under 49 waves so cold I couldn’t breathe
yes, love is love is love is love is love is love  

but not enough love to revive the pulse of 49 dead—
last night I counted 49 stars hating every single one
for their silence, their knowing glint against nothingness

June 12, 2016


Photo of Sarah McCall

Photo of Sarah McCall

Sarah McCall worked for many years as both English teacher and bartender, and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Old Dominion University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals including Whurk, Barely South Review, Jet Fuel Review, Cargo Literary and Fields Magazine. She and her husband and their two dogs live in Norfolk, VA.