author’s note:

Ironically, I post this poem on the day of a root canal.


The pit felt so safe:
I needed a massive drill
on a mammoth stone wheel
to grind my way out—

the whole town now cries
from the screeching
while larks pour down
from above

as the sky breaks open
as the sky broke open
on that first spring day.

In my fear on that day
I ran to a cave
to hide, to pray

but when I finally summoned
enough courage
to venture outside again
the sky had shut.

So I kept running
into things
in the dark.

Nonetheless, I almost
felt comfortable
with not-knowing

until I hit a rock or a mountain
or worse yet: a pit.

In order to survive the pit,
I had to imagine
another world—

a world in which I became humane.
A world where the air
didn’t grate my skin.

Where I glided as smoothly
as a mercury drop—yet remained
sharp diamond.

But I finally had to admit
that world could never
live down here
in the pit.

That‘s why I don‘t mind
that this drilling
hurts so much.

I carried the massive stone
on my shoulders,
I sharpened its teeth
with my intent,
I revolve on my axis
so that this wheel
will continue to spin—
cutting through all
the sheltering layers.

I gladly bear the heaviness,
the solitude,
the waiting—
knowing I have no other choice, knowing
there are no other worlds for me
but this one now,
no other life but the one
that requires I turn
this massive drill

I gladly endure the dizziness
knowing my revolution
will heal will heal will heal
so much.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
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