• Still Life with Sky, Coffee, Tulips, Anna Karenina, and God

    Shannon Pratson

    Spring 2024

    Grocery store tulips. Empty coffee cup
    in the sink. Morning sky smeared
    pink, like the inside
    of a salmon.

    I have been lonely in so many cities
    and now I am lonely in absence
    of the city, the crowd at the Met
    that made me small and whole
    as a seed.

    How do other people pray?

    I pray the way I read Russian novels,
    get as far as the first chapter.

    I go: Ahem! and then Please, God
    and that’s about it.

    I hope that hope
    is enough.

    I think a lot of people
    have wasted a lot of time
    trying to please God,
    that this is because people
    got a lot of things wrong
    around the third century—

    for starters, that Mary Magdalene
    was a prostitute or that it even

    Shannon Pratson is a writer and artist. She holds an MFA from Virginia Tech and lives in London.

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