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Published: Thu Jul 1 2010
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Prayer at Ojai

I asked the deliverer of mountains,
the leaper of straits,
to bring you to the citrus groves
where I sleep and sing in the heat;

or to the river that I walk along,
now just algae and smooth stones,
an abandoned bicycle on the banks.

When you never came,
I asked him to give me a cougar to ride
from one ocean to the other,
to your books and sandals.

There again the brawling above my stomach.
There again my throat closing
like an urchin’s mouth.

Greg Wrenn’s first book, Centaur, was selected by Terrance Hayes for the 2013 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. His work has appeared in AGNI, The Best American Poetry 2014, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. He has completed a second collection of poems, Northwest Passage, and is at work on a series of linked essays about coral reefs, impermanence, and human destiny. A former Stegner Fellow, he teaches at Stanford University. His website is at gregwrenn.com. (updated 3/2015)

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