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OCTOBER 2005

> PRAYER FOR THE BLOCK | erin keane

Blessed Virgin of the Garden Gnomes,
keep the order of chainlinked frontyards
chrysanthemum-safe and fast. Gather

your concrete children in the belly
of the flight path, this consecrated
urban ground. Pilgrims in black eyeliner

and rolled skirts, the schoolgirls are on
the move, playing passion in the nowhere
hours of dwindling afternoon. Our Lady of

Perpetual Rent Checks, know us now
and in the brief hour of our lawn mowing,
cats ghost-printing the hoods of previously-

owned cars, babies dandled on porch swinging
knees. Waiting for an annunciation, the flashbulb
second when everything changes— but I am

not alone. Holy Painted Mother, bless our
camelbacks and foursquares, these optimistic
windchimes, your oldest faithful, the new blood,

your coveralls and ties, swallows and sea
monkeys alike. Lead us out of the holding
pattern, into a pinhole snapshot of what is

to come: a creeping shadow circle, the blessed
who and the sacred with, the where and under
cool plaster hands—the grace, the finally, the when.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Erin Keane lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she directs the InKY Reading Series, designs websites, and teaches interdisciplinary studies at Bellarmine University.