Mercedes Lawry

Prayer for Elvis

 I’m a good girl, Jesus smiles on me,
I don’t forget myself, I know my Bible.
I try and do right by those who mock me.
I sing praises every Sunday,
imagining the angels up there by the ceiling.
I keep my blue spotted dress over my knees.
I pray for you, Elvis, I pray extra hard
even though my eyes saw that twitchin’
and twistin’, even though I never knew hips could go
in that direction, I have not been turned
toward the devil and his nasty ways, I am not
tempted to shake my own self in front of the mirror
just to feel it, that music, that terrible music,
if you listen too long, your bones start jumpin’,
it’s like possession, oh Elvis, you have chosen
a path to hell but it’s not too late, truly,
I would wait for you to figure out there will only
be trouble ahead, whiskey and worse.
Love can save you, Elvis, the love of Jesus
and my own sweet love, tender,
like that one song, the quiet one.


First published in Subtle Tea

Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Natural Bridge, and others. Thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she’s published two chapbooks, most recently “Happy Darkness”. She’s also published short fiction, essays and stories and poems for children and lives in Seattle.

“Poetry is breath, a chance at honesty, a reflection, a wail, a shout, a mirror, a surprise, a distillation, a sideways route, an echo of whatever it means to be human.”