Speechwriter’s Prayer

It’s a Monday in 1973

the year of our Lord Richard Nixon’s departure

and Mustang Sally, Ike’s honest old retriever

seems so damn far away.

This stomach has ulcers undiagnosed

the throat is swollen, the hands shake

and breathing is more difficult than it has been.

I’m queasy and my very structure

these bones and things

seem also to be more brittle

more stretched to breaking.

I’ve got a last speech to write for him

and many other details also

and all of this with a metabolism that feels recently returned

from malaria or some summer camp for dysentery.

So sick am I becoming that I fear

this Woodward and Bernstein disease

may just be the Epstein-Barr of every hack betrayed.

Please God, have him walk directly onto the helicopter

with no turning around to make that two-fisted victory sign.

Do this one thing for me, after all

I have given so much.

-attributed to Raymond K. Price

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