The Supplicant

By Stuart Dybek b. 1942 Stuart Dybek
prays for birds
before an ancient icon—
a stray cat.
The inbred need
to pray
is what makes God
and not, she says,
the other way
beyond that
it’s all mystery,
so don’t question
why Man creates gods
that demand
condemning mortals
to spend their lives
trying to praise
godhead into mercy.
Better instead
to ask the frog
to bless the fly,
and, once the cheese
is in the trap,
to beg forgiveness
from the rat.

Source: Poetry (June 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2012
 Stuart  Dybek


Poet and fiction writer Stuart Dybek was born in 1942 and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He attended Loyola University in Chicago and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His collections of poetry include Brass Knuckles (1979) and Streets in Their Own Ink (2004). His works of fiction, including the short story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods (1980) and The Coast of Chicago (1990), and the novel-in-stories I Sailed . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, Faith & Doubt

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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