Sunday, September 25, 2016

City of Asylum

these burns on your arms before you enter
the alleyways that make our city clean, brick-lined
curving letters on its wall

nothing asks you to carry
any old ruins, a country in the back-pocket
like a packet of gum
always sour in your mouth, losing taste after the first chew

you have arrived, stop carrying
that extra heartbeat in your chest

this is where you seek safety
in a wooden house built atop
the ruins left in one country:
a leg on one continent, a step in another

you do not need language
to express how the walls of a house open to host you

host all the empty prayers you made
for others to receive your luck
host the days of snow piling on your chest
that does not bear well with cold weather

but host the eyes of other humans
who take their candles inside to light your way down winding stairs

on the walls, the rights to speech
all the words composed out of fear
faith and frugality of a prisoner
shaking the iron walls of his cell

but you are free to open your arms
to green trees, four hundred bridges and a river

there is a duplication of things that flood your senses
even in your own home, where light fills the rooms

the ceilings of the house have windows
to let the light in, to let the noise out
you will sleep under the stars
at least you will sleep peacefully here

open your arms to the new colors
don't forget about the music, just be good.

photo is mine, taken at City of Asylum Pittsburgh earlier this week.

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