Dissonance Redux

Edward Sambrano III

I first learned to search for shortcuts

Urgently as my father eased me

Through a window a floor above a bed

Of thorns. I filled my empty pockets

With bits of granite — how exhausting

The geology lessons, neglecting

The secret abrasions available

To exert on the self. One simply needs

An index finger and thumb, a painful,

Rocky edge, truth complicated

By innumerable interpretations,

And a revelation arriving at the teacher’s

Spiteful glance: it’s either true that Earth

Subjects me to its unsteady,

Shifting terrain or bourbon

Poorly hidden above a cabinet

Within a child’s reach provided

Proof of the rebellious persistence

Of freedom. How to find space

For the coexistence of vases

Shattered against walls and walks

In parks on the weekends?

If explanations can subtract

From experience its cruel specificity,

I’ll create a self-help book dedicated

To shaping its readers into clay

Stereotypes or eroding them

Into bare constellations

Of tragic symptoms belonging to a disease

A specialist can treat. Now that I’m sitting

At my kitchen table, the full glass

Of liquor in one hand competes

For attention with the handwritten pages

Crumpled in the other — I’m embedded

In this irreducible world.

Is it possible to gaze directly

At each of its moments, as every thesis

Whispers its antithesis? I prefer

Dropping the glass, watching

It splinter across the floor’s

Tiles. I’ll clean the mess with a wet rag;

The day after, an invisible shard

Awaits my bare foot.


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