Dana Malone

Universal Intercessory (for SSATBB voices)
Cradle the makers of funny cat videos
And little girls who snuggle with elephants

Cradle the Bassett hound marked as bait before pit bull fight
Cradle the pit bull chained to steel and beds of concrete

Cradle the vagabond who forgets
To sleep facing the back of the car with legs extended
Whose neck breaks for two hours’ rest
Cradle the freight lines for abbreviating warning blasts

Cradle sacred oratorios for matching the key of Amtrak whistles
Cradle the krautrock drone, the brainwash of factories

Cradle iolite and blindness

Cradle the street-teen who gives head for a winter coat or knockoff heroin
Cradle the escort who considers herself above the street whore
Cradle the Stepford wives of diamonds and Escalades
Who cannot afford diamonds and Escalades without the iron-fisted Mister
Cradle private school’s sons and daughters
Cradle drop-outs and adjunct faculty on welfare

Cradle the bikini-waxed and those who grow afros between their legs

Cradle the death-row inmate who didn’t do it
And the one who couldn’t care less for axing a family
Cradle the legal aid society
And 25-year-olds who suck the corporate teat to make partner

Cradle two and three jobs to make ends meet
Cradle the beneficiaries of dollar bread and produce near ruin
Cradle those who can afford to eat at the Dorchester every weekend
And blow a grand or two each trip to Nordstrom’s

Cradle all who believe in the one who rose after three days
Cradle Mardis Gras krewes and pancakes before death
Cradle atheists in a land where God parades on paper currency
Cradle the electrons of Madalyn Murray O’Hair and St. Catherine of Sienna

Cradle Dana’s sister, who used to call the Bassett hound a “basket ham”
Cradle the speech impediment of grandmothers returning to the toothless age
Cradle fathers who long for full use of their right arms after war and stroke
Cradle the nursing home yet to end bedsores and fire negligence
Cradle third-shift nursing assistants who paint their nails and steal TVs from dementia
Cradle their children who would not have television or pizza pockets otherwise

Cradle Calvin & Hobbes
Cradle Beavis and Butthead
Cradle Kathy Griffin for going too far
And artists who get away with smearing feces on crucifixes

Cradle compost, weed, and bridal bouquets
Cradle artisan cheeses and cheese whiz
Cradle luxe bed sheets, rickety clotheslines
Chanel No. 5 and unscented dryer sheets
Cradle cloth diapers
And landfills clogged with Pampers

Cradle broken vows and fidelity
Cradle the blended adoptees and
boys and girls who reach 18 in orphanages

Cradle give-a-damn and tragedy in their slope and tangle,
Before fire burns every arm bent in love.