We Pray for the Children

who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes
We pray for those
who cannot bound down the street in a pair of new sneakers
who never “counted potatoes,”
who are born in places where we would not be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.
We pray for the children
who bring us sticky kisses and fists full of dandelions
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
We pray for those
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who cannot find any bread to steal
who don’t have a room to clean up,
whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.
We pray for the children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don’t like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
whose smiles can make us cry.
We pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist,
who aren’t spoiled by anyone,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for the children
who want to be carried and for those who must
for those we never give up on
and for those who don’t get a second chance.
For those we smother with kisses and … for those
who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer one.


  • Linda Cota-Kumagai, BASW/MA

    4335 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 155
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
    (818) 203-9299


    "Spare the Rod"
    (Written by a death row prison inmate to his father)

    What shall you find at heaven's gate?
    What shall be a father's fate
    who reveled in his children's screams
    who haunts them still in their dreams?
    You took your children meek and mild
    and beat them feral, stomped them wild.
    You've now moved on to spar with God,
    Who spares the child and breaks the rod.