Prayers from Dunwich by James H Duncan

Father, I’ve prayed
the noisome breathing
coming down the chimney
to stop, please stop,
I’ve prayed in your name
and mine

Mother, I’ve washed the blood
from the altar and the hands
and all the steps leading
back up from the cellar
where we waited and cried
and called Its name

Sister, I’ve called for you
in the night, in the howling yonder,
delicate pine saplings whipping
in the storm, lightning
like the bones of the universe
running away with you

Brother, if only I had a brother,
if only it hadn’t all fallen on me,
to build all this, watch all this,
to tend it and beckon at the called
upon hour, speak its name
on Sentinel Hill, and see it staring
back at me

Oh fellow humanity, you wretched
ignorant coiling thing, you will
know what you have begat in me
and all my ilk and all their kin
and when the right book
calls from the right hands slick
with red and black and icy wax
you will see the heavens
you pray for weekly, and watch
them fall forever, and ever
and ever after, so help It

James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review, a contributing writer to The Blue Mountain Review, and co-host of Troy Poetry Mission, a monthly reading series in upstate New York. His work may be found in Writer’s Digest, Pulp Modern, Full of Crow, American Artist, and Boned, among other publications. For more visit

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