Tonight I pray to the god
of small children and broken toys.
Since it seems as though we are made
in Her image, thank you for the tiny curls
in my daughter’s hair. Blessed is She
who holds those galactic swirls close to her beautiful head,
thanks for letting me run my fingers through them
as we read Goodnight Moon at the end of a long, wrecked day.
Thanks for her little hands with chipped nail polish
and the laughter ebbing from her coral lips.
God of the color pink, god of Dora the Explorer,
thank you for rain as we begin our journey into sleep,
let the sky fall one drop at a time.
That we can find ourselves
in this unearned sweetness,
to the god of small miracles
I say, Amen.
This poem was originally published in Misery Islands by CavanKerry Press.
January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (2014) and Underlife (2009), both published by CavanKerry Press. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University.
January’s poems and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Paterson Literary Review, Rattle, Ploughshares, Sou’Wester, North American Review, The MOM Egg, Crab Creek Review, Drunken Boat, Crab Orchard Review, Callaloo, Literary Mama, Field, Seattle Review, and Cave Canem anthologies II and IV, among others. Underlife was a finalist for ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize. In December 2009, January was awarded a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant. She was featured in Poets & Writers magazine’s January/February 2010 Inspiration issue as one of its 12 debut poets. A Cave Canem fellow, she runs a popular blog called Poet Mom.
Previously, January was a senior writer/editor at Babson College. She earned her BA from Old Dominion University and her MFA at New York University. She lives with her two children in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Favorite poets: “I studied with Sharon Olds, Galway Kinnell, and Philip Levine at NYU, also Toi Derricotte and Ruth Stone long ago as an undergrad so I always come back to those poets. I’m drawn to a strong narrative voice.”