April 13, 2017
How to Cast a Prayer

—Vienna Bottomley
Posted in celebration of National Poetry Month

Remove your shoes,
your hard heels, your softened
sneakers, your knee-length
leather boots and let dark
water swallow your shins. 
Plant both legs in a garden
of green algae, an altar cloth
flung across the sharp
reflection of a Baton Rouge
sky.  Hear bullfrogs belt
blues, deep bass
bridges to a chorus
of blackbirds atop cypress
columns with wide-ribbed
roots.  Feel the wet
wind slap your face like hot
breath, a humid kiss
on an August afternoon. 
When you’ve sunken too deep,
unwind along the bayou bank
by cagey crawdads, and rest
your clay-coated soles on a hollow
log.  Let the Louisiana sun bake
all ten toes in God’s great kiln
until jeweled dragon
flies creep across your earthen

—Vienna Bottomley (St. Joseph County)

While an undergraduate at Notre Dame, Vienna Bottomley took poetry classes in the English Department’s Creative Writing Concentration and served as a poetry editor for Re:Visions. Her poem, “Art with a Heart,” is featured as part of the bus stop exhibition, Moving Forward, along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Vienna recently completed a collection of poems inspired by Potato Creek State Park and funded by an Arts in the Parks grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. She lives with her husband, Adrian, in South Bend where she attends Notre Dame Law School.

Poetry Prompt: How to Enter Nature
Compose a poem that provides directions on how to fully appreciate a particular place in nature or a certain type of landscape. If you don’t have a place in mind, then you might consider going on a pilgrimage to one of Indiana’s state parks or nature preserves. Include at least two similes or metaphors in your poem and details so sensual that the reader will feel vicariously transported to the place you’re writing about. 

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem and prompt every day in April. Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner selected these poems and wrote the prompts.

Posted In: Poetry

One response to “How to Cast a Prayer”

  1. Norbert Krapf says:

    Good poem, Vienna. Fine job of selecting resonant details that pull the reader into the waters of the poem and thus the prayer.

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