As Much as an Agnostic Can Pray by Cati Porter

As Much as an Agnostic Can Pray

Near midnight and I click the circle that homes in
on my teenage son thirty five miles away
on top of a mountain and I watch as the icon
of his small face darts across roads and lakes
while the satellite pings, locating him.

Much is given up to the engine of technology
amid prayer that it won’t fail at a terrible time,
like rounding a narrow bend with the valley
arrowing below, or on a night drive to “spot bear”
or whatever it is that boys do in the dark.

I thumb the app open, closed, open, closed—
like worry beads— my face aglow from
the screen of my iPhone as I watch my son’s
avatar slow, settle, and let go.

by Cati Porter

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Editor’s Note: The closing rhymes in the final line of this poem feel like a release, just as when a parent finally exhales the worry that grips the heart when a child is gone.

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