a thing upon which to pray

as a daydreaming boy
trapped inside tall walls
of gray silence
a salt-hair afternoon
by the ocean’s dark breadth
as it was with my aunt
at the beach down the way–
from Coney Island’s spinning drift
tho I couldn’t believe that anyone
would want to go to a place like that
cigarette litter pushed, clawing
up through the sand’s tan crystals
like yellow-stained skeleton fingers
failed, one final time
at escaping
to freedom’s white-cloud billow
but everyone was there
everyone on earth, it seemed
even the dead
and those nearly so
or as it was
with my grandmother
who sang so prettily
like a young girl
when nearing the end
on the sandy island in the Caribbean
made of the blown dust
the crushed hearts, the ground stones
and the grayed bones
of my adulterous, and incestuous
a few of them, anyway
and even then
knowing a silence taller and wider than my own
lived within the sea’s rhythmic white-static hum
a thing older than even gods
and I remember wishing
that it’d climb the beach
the curls and swells, its wide tendrils
swallowing the dunes, and the palms
reaching, again, the hilltop churches
wishing it’d bring us– all
into its breathless keep
finally finding a thing, worthy
upon which to pray
a place where we might
just be, for some amount of time
tho, there’d be no time–
no white-butterfly moments
to expire
before we’d been ready
to watch them leave us
a place
inside the silence
where there are no rich
and no poor
and no colors
of any sort
and no lords
nor slaves
no love
and no
tho there may be
a few things left
a few reasons
to stay
for a bit more
to learn
the songs
of the elders

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