Jill Alexander Essbaum

Through the demon and the deity,
under seventeen or seven thousand
years of circumstantial evidence-
the groans of soldiers coming as the spear
ignites their hearts, the spear itself, aghast-
beyond the morning that does not reveal
its rosy curl unfurling, the let-down
of a waited-for awake, death's
disappointment, the finality
of a paperweight, heft and thud
of that which holds down, tight
and always-under the mourning that refutes
its very grief as if a bastard child
come to connive himself a birthright, a name
(oh luxury and the denial)-a city
calls and shall forever call The Dead-
and they arrive. They arrive, pockets
empty of breath and full of vagrancy
thresholding the white light's obvious tunnel:
Dead fathers make the most noise. Otherwise,
it seems like rain or 1941-
a steam train grinds, trestle to track, sparks
distill the gray air (is it air at all?).
Even the climate has done itself death,
soot and pain of that which everlasts-
and it is an ocean of everlast.



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