Sometimes in these

endless days,

they pretend to know so well,

it will come to them,

the rustling, warm wind,

like so many fingers

on the muted, delicate

keyboard of the backbone,

that thin arch-bone

of the soul.

It will come to one of them

who will suddenly sigh,

not in the chest,

but in the blood

retreating from the face,

like panicked birds

flocking close together

against some instinctive fear.

And then, how strange

this life that

briefly shuttles past on a tram,

how trembling like tender shoots,

the doors open,

people step out into

the bright day,

so foreign, so frightening,

the men who don their hats,

the women who take tea

in the shop windows.

And in that instant,

brief as any moment

captured in the

jar of revelation,

this one will forget how to breathe

or blink or whimper,

and the trees

suspended high by the wind

will suddenly drop

their laden branches

and disperse life

in beads and dust balls

and pearls

through the airless space,

silent, condensed,

crushing with its

painful beauty.

And the lungs, finally,

push back, strain

against the universe come too close,

to make space enough

for this one human


And the beauty,

the utter, choking beauty

of being here in this moment

releases them.

Then the trams

that shuttle by,

and the men in their

suits and hats,

the women in their dresses

and socks,

and all the doors

once again

are not terrifying

and are as sensible

as breathing.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014


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