Prayer Shawl

My friend handed me a handmade prayer shawl
but the truth was I hadnโ€™t prayed
in a very long time.

The garment was thickly knitted
like something my grandmother
would have made.

I put it around my shoulders
immediately feeling safer
the way a seatbelt might keep me
inside the car in case of a crash.

Later, I put the shawl on my lap
traced my fingers along the edges
wondering how she chose to go
from orange to purple to blue to green.

Thankful that she made this just for me to pray
the way a maranta plant bends inward at night
its shiny green leaf hands gathering in the middle.



Jennifer Novotneyโ€™s work has appeared in Buddhist Poetry Review, Poetry Quarterly, and The Vignette Review where she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2014, she won the Moonbeam Childrenโ€™s Book Award for her debut novel, Winter in the Soul.