Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Escape

I dreamed I fashioned a bell jar
and turned it over on myself.
Like a specimen in the zoo, fascinated,
I observed the world pass by.

When they saw my eyelids flicker,
they knew I was alive.
"It's alive!" A scientist cries, stops,
examines me back and front; tested

Ineffable intelligencer! "Right!" he cries.
The eternal spheroid appears, my hair stands
on end. Radioactivity glows in the cement.

Seeing me naked, God's people
interfere. Would I go to heaven?
Where was my family, were my children alive?
All dead within? He'd never permit me in.

One took me aside, spoke privately,
a dense gas condensing on the glass.
"You have a duty to God and Man.
Come out! Don't ya wanna be boss?"

Then a brave man tried to break
my silence, insisting that I learn to speak.
"You must learn words," he says.
"Words will help you escape."

I thought about that for a long time.
Maybe I did not want to escape.
Words are a gloss, a dust, a lacquer.
Was their mystery worth struggling for?

I was feeling smothered breathless.
To catch a breath in a bell jar, it hurts.
People stop by watching everything,
whatever I do. They exaggerate my secrets.

Life is hard in a bell jar. Anguish,
too much going on. Asphyxiation.
Each breath climactic. I almost died, brother.
I still remember forty years later the terror.

But I got out! I thought of a loving, human touch.
A hand had touched me, loving fingertips.
Finally, the glass shattered outward: busted
my prison. A loving memory got me out.

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