M.T. O’Byrne: ‘Nu Descendant un Escalier’

Nu Descendant un Escalier

This is how I feel—
As a nude descending the stairs
and stripped of all my reason.
What is it like? It is like the “this” in Dickinson’s
House of Possibility.

But there are no windows, and I cannot see
the now
as there is no past, and all I want
of the future (please!)
is to see only one of me.

But the future has no bannisters
and the steps go eschering this way
and that.
A church bell rings the hour (eleven),
But ante or post meridian I cannot tell.

I would that I had lived
—could live—in that unfairer house
where cedar doors are closed
and the liquor brewed is bland
and mild (pleasantly predictable).

And then? And then to be counted
among the reasonable,
to be rent of all
and accounted for only in prose.

M.T. O’Byrne

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