Chorus of the Years

Why won’t you let me be glory, standing there in the mountainous half-bright shadow, fallen step-by-step down the staircase where a bad smell, urine and something else, unarguably an ultimate flaw, good to ignore years before but now not, not with you there above me, looking down, hardly clear, hard silent, except for cricks on the landing I strain to count, losing each, for what, for glory and motion, which can’t be claimed, neither can—I know it, this frowsiness we ascend by, descend fast to register but not recognise, being that it is a malevolent malice I left behind in brackish St Thomas, that ash earth place, where dark glares in vials and parchment with names are put in shoes to turn minds spider (it happened to mom), where speartips of cane-flags pointed at hearts set whole hills in tears, and rage, Jesus, rage evening after evening drags—let me stop now, halfway up the stairs; the arc’s broken like an hiatus at fresh water gapes back at the chorus of early days when, of course, you were the only singer, lifted up, granted, like fire in coal broken through, at last, one black ice nugget.

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