—with gratitude to Patricia Hubbell, “Prayer for Reptiles”
God, keep all traveling children
safe. Keep them
as they wander, wonder,
what place in this world for me?
Keep all boast and argue,
on the road to home.
all jitter-hand girls,
striving, cat loving, faithful but fearful
believers in good people
and sudden tragedy.
all serene and joyful
visitors avoiding the drama
of their own families.
all holiday confused husbands,
work driven, catching a breath
and a break.
friends, relatives, and perfect strangers
all wanting, all hope, all generosity.
Poet’s statement: This poem, inspired by Patricia Hubbell’s “Prayer for Reptiles,” captures the worry and anticipation of those days just before Thanksgiving when our 20-somethings, friends, and relatives are all on the road, traveling home for the holiday.
Anne Vilen is a professional education writer and the mother of two grown children. My poems, blogs, and essays have been published in Grown and Flown, Mothertongue, Poets and Writers, and the Washington Post Magazine.