The Edged Tether


An easy conversation, the gentle boil of cabbage green,
To make the meal I chose for the last words I spoke,
Until my tongue grew gray and my jaw snapped when
The steel rods couldn’t support the concrete.
For the skyscraper that snapped Atlas’s back,
His sister left to apply the little ointment left
All for me. And my folly.
With the ichor on the west side of the river dried
Where the dead are stripped of wealth.

So unlike the weeds I grew
And wore. For mourning’s black crêpe and veil.
Sought to ship the cargo, across these shallow straits,
Grounded by the sand and tied to past shipwrecks
By algae, braided in coils and around the warden’s belt
Lungs compressed by molten rock for the effort offered
Too much. Drowned the good will in empty sorrow.

Distance came quicker than pressure,
Pity before empathy and action
Some simmering resentment poured over plank and board
So like the shipment and the sails,
Overrun by the end of things. Crossed side, boundary.
Passed what we assumed to be the earth, the sky,
And their limits.

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