Learning to Pray I was never good at it, even as a kid, kneeling on the tile floor, elbows kneeling on the tile floor, elbows on the pieced quilt, hands folded, a collapsible steeple. When I shut my eyes, I didn’t see God, but silver bullets and horses cresting the horizon of hills. What I was told to say to God about my soul, my blessings felt muzzled by an inside voice, one that wanted a fast new sled, more of my grandmother’s dimes. I knew my mother prayed daily that my grandmother’s brain tumor would shrivel to a raisin. The grape enlarged to cluster and she died. I never got the inside voice to hush, stop interrupting, making, grocery lists, quit asking how to miracles and seeking explanations. It kept up such a racket: argue, measure, translate, deny. Compose, regret. Then my mother died. Voices lost their sound. Now I know silence as a kind of prayer, a voice asking nothing, tired of words, tired of lifting up and tying down, tired of grammar, syntax, left brain. Prayer finds its own release, the hand and breath of God calling forth a chord. It’s no struggle tuning this instrument I’ve never held, playing a score I’ve never seen, the song untethered from its notes: acorn, feather, moon.