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Salt Prayers

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from SALT PRAYERS

Written in 1998
Published 2005 by The Ecstatic Exchange

• A Thousand Archers

• Small Rectangular Wooden Boxes

 

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A THOUSAND ARCHERS

A thousand archers stationed behind walls,
a thousand pistols facing us from behind doors,
potholes in the asphalt the size of moon craters,
stepladders with loose steps one step alone will dislodge,
huge fists with comic book starbursts around them
     heading our way,
trains bearing down on us tied to the tracks, sweaty and
    apprehensive,
great balls of fire heading toward us from outer space,
calamity in the financial market, disaster on the
    domestic front,
earthquake, jaws of two sides of an earth-rift
       opening right under us, swallowing us
           whole,
our plaintive cries lost in the night, our echoing
cries down stairwells or between redwood trees tall as
Saturn, our bewildered persons on a planet the
      size of a pea in a
universe the size of the Sahara a billion times over,

all of it closing in, closing in all around these
bodies of ours as our mortality laps at us like the
waters of terrific oceans until our
natural barriers can no longer bear it, and
     burst,
starlight upon us, endless Milky Way trails
     blistering the blackness with
snow-twinkle, Lord, all these

actual adversities against us, and
You Sovereign over all, calm
Voice in the darkness, deep

Light in the darkness, Beautiful
Face in the darkness, Your

Light in the darkness.

5/30

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SMALL RECTANGULAR WOODEN BOXES

Small rectangular wooden boxes filled with straw,
clocks, bogs, stars, rocks,

tiny almond shaped silver lozenges full of perfume,
tops, watches, tar, catches,

a tall doorway at the top of an incredibly long stairway,
logs, banks, kegs, poles,

satisfyingly gurgling waterfall streams down
    tall shale hillsides,
flux, parrots, hoaxes, axes

sinister persons under a streetlamp late at
    night in a foreign tongue,
flat, sharp, steep, drop,

whole cities asleep under twinkling stars at the
    volcano's base,
bags, flags, peaks, parks,

sparks of gold illuminate the face of the blind welder,
stars, darts, deeps, craps,

I'm trapped in a glass house my voice inaudible, sinking,
sob, blab, cop, dwarf,

you can't go backward once you set foot in the race,
hark, flat, snoop, plague,

capture the flag then run down the hill till you're dead,
sap, bliss, cheap, play,

flat as the acreage rolling above you to the sea,
cap, slip, dope, pose,

float above sea level wearing the wide wings of ice
    you were given,
seven, sliver, silver, heaven.

Silver heaven.

6/8

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