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Impossible Staircases


I could never grasp beginning and ending,

the distinctly human inevitability.

Meandering through jagged years,

inching across aging miles,

wading knee-deep through bony swamps,

marching forward on backward streets.

I find myself always trying to quantify,

to measure the path from point A to exhibit B,

to chart the intricacies, the tangles,

each forked road and dead end,

the topography of each step taken

          and not taken.

An impossible map, unyielding,

drawn impatiently with patient ink.

I tiptoe over peeling branches,

over sleeping limbs of growing statues,

knotted trunks born from knotting roots,

newborn sprouts cradled in dying soil.

With shaky arms outstretched

I lift my eyes to the sky below,

to upward drifting bundled seeds,

pregnant wombs to birth new beginnings.

New beginnings to grow and meander and tangle

          and end.

I let my balance shift,

let flail my ungrounded limbs.

I let in the confusion, the uncertainty,

the maddening knowledge of not knowing.

I reach for unreachable heights,

lace tightly the boots on my hands

          and crawl,

wandering, wondering

if I’ll ever find my way back

to where I am going

          and where I began.