Branches

Quietly we dwell in our secret places
And carry on nameless,
Forbidden from likeness,
And then a branch falls to the meadow below,
Bursting into multifarious little pieces,
Complex and diversified,

Each bearing a misshapen face
With eyes desperately gasping for something lovely again,
Or at least stable and unshifting and without pain.
Mouths have crumbled into serrated grimaces
That do not speak.

They must number in the millions now,
Whirling, bobbing and cracking beneath our feet.
We kick them away but they return
More frenzied and grotesque as ever.
Soon they will consume us whole

And we will suffocate under their weight.
We will bear faint visions of fingers interlocked
And voices lifted in togetherness
That will soon dissipate into the unremitting thinness
Of eternal sequestration.

What is the Promised land but an island of rank desolation,
Populated by naught but a vast canopy of naked men
Reduced to categories, bound together by ropes and chains
Lying prostrate in the sun?

Where will this child go to find shelter from a broken womb,
Pierced by the branches that continue to fall?
The old woman will surely speak life into this lost seed
Once she arises from the dust of darkened corners
And partial skulls set aflame by idle hands.

Hate we knew not, until our tree had fallen.
We are alone, bereft of even the gentlest of litanies.
A sigh lingers for a moment, then disappears.
A wrinkled black hand trembles, then stops.
An angel weeps in the distance.

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