The Nacreous Oughts

31 July 2008

   "After Weightlessness"

Once, the random sweep of an arm sufficed
To disperse planets like seedballs, rearrange
A galaxy. There were whole systems, then,
Bent round my clever thumb: and I could utter
Stars by the thousand, or laughingly banish light-years
Within the compass of my own spread fingers.

Since then, how many vengeful atmospheres
Have crushed my joints! Each pebble that I lift
Here on Earth, bruises the skin with blood,
Leaving its dark ring. Wherever I look,
Rivers hurtle seawards, unbalanced trees
Topple, helpless, towards the hidden centre.

Within me, now, I feel the fatal mass
Of dreams grown heavy, each imagined order
Compacted, bearing me down through clay and water:
And when, with effort, I raise my face to the mirror,
Each day, with growing terror I confront
Someone else's definition of power.

--Lawrence Sail

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