Salkehatchie Prayer

A Salkehatchie Prayer

We pray for people
Who keep pictures of Jesus and Martin Luther King on their smoky walls,
Who look on the bright side though we can’t see why,
Who love the Lord,
Whose smiles and laughs touch our hearts,
Who have faith we’ll return after tearing off their roof,
Who wave at us with tears in their eyes when we depart,
Who never forget us.

And we pray for those
Who bathe in a dish pan
Who listen to the rats in their walls at night,
Whose toilet is a slop jar,
Who share a house with eleven others,
Who look at the outside world through the holes in their walls,
Whose children eat grits with their fingers from a communal bowl.

And we pray for those
Who don’t have enough pans to catch the roof leaks,
Who sleep with a knife beside their beds,
Who “pass it on” and abuse their children,
Who in their old age care for abandoned “grands,”
Who have no one to lend a hand,
Who farm their children out in winter to friends with heat,
Who live in homes we wouldn’t be caught dead in.

And we pray for those
Who have outlived family and friends,
Who work on plantations all day and never see their children till night,
Whose bodies and broken like communion bread,
Who never get medical care,
Who struggle as single parents,
Whose children’s greatest treat is going to lunch with us,
Who never had a white friend,
Who go to bed hungry.

And we pray for those
Who work by our side in heat and filthy conditions,
Who serve the crippled, blind, elderly, palsied, and retarded,
Who help us see we’re one in Christ,
Who shed tears and share hugs at evening reflections,
Whose own families are not without problems,
Who delight in learning to toe nail and use a circular saw,
Who build sandboxes and rope swings for children,
And smother them love.

Art Dexter
~1986~