A Prayer for Clarence


His eyes open each morningto the same lines, the same dotsin the ceiling.The same fluorescent lights.Teal carpet,sterile linoleum, and sour smellsfill his mind, capture his thoughts.

Rolling.Down the hallways too narrow,and much, much too long.He rolls past a windowwith shades drawn openand stops to stareinto the blue.Wind brushes his cheeks,rustles his loose clothing.They assume he is asleep.

Behind his lids,the haze clears.He looks ahead into the past;he looks to remember.Little braids, small laughs, red rocks.Further back.Big noises, broken hearts, friendshipsto die for.

The sun comes outand he remembers.Her face, smile,the way she walks.Her voice.Now she runs.Runs toward him, nevergrowing weary.Never growing faint.Tap on the shoulder,the shades are drawn shut.Teal again replaces blue.But soon, he knows,soonhe will run too.

—Julia Daining