The Order of Things

In the order of things we line up
alphabetically; we read from left to right.
Power's talons grip from top to bottom,
greater over lesser, from richer
to poorer. But then, we can delight in how
a tree lives all the way down to its roots,
how water seeks the lowest point.

Up from the bottom,
counting the layers of sediment,
Paleolithic to now,
the first responders up the stairs
in a building dying from the
top down, shedding light and
lives, profit and loss statements
floating like feathers. Photos of wives,
brother, children, freed to wing
across the city, caught up to drift,
light upon light, ashes to dust,
scudding street-wise, lastly
swept up against the bus stop.

And then there is time, measured out
in spoonfuls — the stray loose minutes
before the alarm, the tension now and yet again
vibrating like the filament in a light:
grief before joy, pain before release, apocalypse
now, revelation then. And death, always death.
But then, life. 

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