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And There Is One Voice

And there is one voice among many,
one I remember as mine
among so many drops of rain, so many stars,
so many leaves, flames, feathers, flowers,
and the teen-age girl in so many corners of the darkness
skeining her pencil webs across the page
to catch something, a butterfly hunting spiders
that won’t understand her,
and the lovers that have sifted downstream
from the radiant watersheds of their mountain plateaus
like silt over the laryngal deltas of my saying,
black pollen of extinguished stars
I carry around in the medicine bag of my afterlife
like mystic winds to keep the sails up
like the eyelids of a blind rose.
So many skies have enthroned themselves within me over the years,
so many waves and planets and legends of darkness
and the shipwrecks and shores of the weather,
and the storms and the birds, and the shriek of the lightning,
so many dawns and sunsets
and the strutting peacocks in the twilight,
and the sumptuous nights with their illicit luminosities,
so many banners of burning straw
as I look for the one needle of light
that was the gate and the eye and the mouth and the voice
of what most closely resembled me for awhile,
before I learned how to slough my skin
and the hauntings of the black poppies who long to be clear began,
and what was one threshold for a poet in solitude
turned into a palatial labyrinth of doors
that swung on their hinges in space like birds and tongues and bells
all the homeless whose last address will be a gravestone,
all the hapless, broken wretches
who keep trying again like losing bottle-caps,
and the women who came to the mike
to sing like an ambulance,
and the atrocities, the murders, the obscenity, the weeping,
that grabbed at my throat like severed hands
to scream of the horrors and sorrows
in the bloody braille and crippled signage of slaughtered flowers.
There was a boy. He was sixteen. And a prelude
that grained him out of a black cloud
that swirled around his feet like a snakepit
and pearled him into an eclipse
that time held up to the moon like a crow,
like a telescope silvered by the eyes of the night,
a black mirror that parted the veils of the obvious
like a woman’s legs
and went looking like a silo of infinite space
that echoed like a famine

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