A Psalm for August

by Ryan Keating

My soul cringes a little. It worries
that it might be cliché to admit that 
I want to be received into the arms
of the Father- your fingers on my back,
your breath on my neck, and your chin 
pressed to my shoulder, holding me 
like a good metaphor in a poem
that makes me not want to let go
and convinces me that I am loved.

When I imagine that embrace 
long enough, I stop trying to find
myself anywhere else. I am here
and whole and no longer wondering
if I belong. My soul unfolds 
like a crumpled straw wrapper 
with a drop of water on the table
where I used to sit across from my dad
eating French toast with warm syrup.

I breathe you in for a long while
and then release the kind of sigh
that makes people ask what happened,
exhaling the dust of a distant country
and beginning to believe again
that I have always been at home with you,
where I can still be brand new, surrounded
and filled to remain here and set out
walking the long road as a son.

Ryan Keating is a writer, pastor, and winemaker on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. His work can be found in publications such as Saint Katherine Review, Ekstasis Magazine, Amethyst Review, Macrina Magazine, Fathom, Dreich, Vocivia, and Miras Dergi, where he is a regular contributor in English and Turkish.

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