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One Hour

From birth, I told him, I knew.
Life, the totality of it,
is a burnt strata: experience
then memory.
Layers intermix,
and sometimes cover the skin
and the eyes, the body itself.
One can never be free
of such residue.

The invisible tide
of breath –
expand, contract, expand, contract –
the undulating waves

from so much ash and debris.

And so, I told him, one must remain empty
the strata will not stain me
the striated lines
of age and need, of desire, of want
of Love
remain a picture
I might visit
as one does a museum
or an orchestra

and I will always be kin
to the creator of the canvas
the maker of harmony
or dissonance.

There is perfection, I told him.
Austerity is bliss
and I know the eroticism
of distance.

I will not rot
between the lines.