The Adirondack Review
In the Sweat Lodge


“OK” said Bo, the water pourer
“It’s time for your prayers
To be spoken

Spirit needs to hear the words
Coming from your heart
Don’t worry
It’s dark

No one can see you
And nobody can hear you
As I will beat my drum
And I will sing my song
Real loud”

Then he started beating his drum
And singing
Through the fog

I took a deep breath
And I clearly heard
A seventy-year old
Just divorced man
Next to me bawl
“Help
I need
People
I cannot
Live alone”

And from my left
Came the thin
Repenting voice
Of a newlywed girl
“Please
Help me let go
Of myself
And care for others”

And through the beats
And the chants
I caught the words
“Please”
“Sister”
And
“Cancer”

With squeezed eyes
And wet fingers
I plugged up my ears
And whispered

“I want to be
A great writer
I want to be
A great writer”

And then I felt embarrassed
And stopped talking
What if someone hears
My selfish longing

I stood there
Thinking hard
Trying to quickly come up
With something else to pray for

But nothing different came to mind






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KATERINA STOYKOVA-KLEMER was born and raised in Bulgaria. She immigrated to the USA and currently lives in Lexington, KY. She writes poetry and prose in English as well as Bulgarian and her works have appeared in magazines and newspapers in the USA and Bulgaria. She is a student in the Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program.
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems