I haven't said a prayer in years.
Hell, I can't even recall the last time
I actually stepped into a church. But at 5:39 a.m.
I find myself in the kitchen asking for mercy.
It's for my friend Lauri.
The neighbor who lives upstairs from me
in 12 C with her husband Raymond
and English Bulldog Buster.
The same woman who drives
a faint yellow VW Bug
and blasts The Queen is Dead by The Smiths
for the whole neighborhood to hear.
The Lauri who has an extra bedroom
that was painted blue to pink
to blue again, but over time the walls
have faded into a vague purple
with shades of hesitation
and an empty baby crib
in the center of the room
that collects dust.
Her water broke this morning
and the paramedics are strapping her
into the ambulance. I wave to her
through the slats of my window
then look at the congratulations card
sticking out of my utility drawer
that I've wanted to give her now
for the last five years.
They start driving her away
as the sirens begin to blare
until she finally disappears
up the road into the twilight of dawn.
I stare at my phone
and then to the morning sky,
which hasn't even made a decision
of what today will bring.
I'm waiting for a call.