worms that plow the earth
minerals buried dark-deep in time
reclusive fossils and those
that never formed—life
that left no mark, none
not even a signature X

we pray for these and all
other vanished unknown things

the twisted roots of elderly trees
water sliding underground
aurochs; early humans who traced
their open hands on cave walls cool
as moss and dank with moist air
urns embracing handfuls of dust

we pray for these and all
vanished, vanishing, and to vanish

and what of words,
those fair-weather friends,
those light-as-nothing syllables
lifted on a wave
across the expanding universe
and gone?

We pray for the unseen, the unfound, the disappeared.
Not to retrieve but to acknowledge.