from VIAE CRUCIUM -- Stephen Sartarelli


We'll let the children be our hands
if only for a moment,
let their placid demons
fill the frames a million-year lust
has peopled with the frenzy
of the noon.
                    And still the lines
they trace shall fall upon
an empty form of our own making,
cross and clash and follow
the same pathless path to what
in every shadow looms
as certain as the blood
of stars, a face or body
of the self as god,
serene or wracked or animal
and dealing sleep and light
as death and life
and to the creature

Into that form we too
shall breathe our heat and darkness
and call it everything --

(with shade, things seem to change,
conform, we think, to our desire)


And so we wait
for what should be our own
from birth,
wait until the body bleeds
into the shadows all around
the heaving brain,
                    falls into
unshuttered eyes as if to earth,
ferried softly back
into the days.

                    The shoulders
slacken, droop, weightless
as in emptiness, the eyes
stare hard into that long-familiar
welcome, no consolation but a love
long turned away, the voice
another void apart,
away from the wandering darkness
and step no further,
make no other move
but turn and know what
your own given senses
never lost.
                    Go only
as you always would.

And still we see
only what made us, splintered
wood and shaven, planed, and chiseled
rock, and water, and what
voices call unheeded from
a distant point upon the hill--

And by the forms within
our form, the species
of our birth
as entrails shaped anew
as figures of our daily sight,
twisted at the waist
or leaning out and beckoning,
mocking or weeping,
as our eyes and hands,
we bleed,
                    black into our
fading steps behind the light,
the ever-steeper angles
of the gaping road by which
we fall,
in a company of ghosts,
our form within the forms
we breathe.

                    (A bustle of shadows
enacts the life outside
this sudden path,
of appetites so sweet
in their undying repetition.

To and fro they move in step
with us, dark, unknowing.)

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