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n o r t h   s t a r


:  c h r i s t o p h e r    l o c ke


Dawn, and again the skull
hums like gray parchment
you could stick your finger
through. Getting up isn’t
the problem--it’s the falling
down that wears you out.
What energy’s left is better
spent listening to the grasshopper
outside your window, wings
clicking like a baseball card
in bicycle spokes. And suddenly
you can see yourself on that
first bike, gliding down
Bowman Street, at last thrilled
with your life. Zooming past
parked cars, the city’s metallic
breath finally bearable, even
the bruised hours of home
faded in that moment. Nothing
could stop you, no one could
brace their adult arms against
you. And the great shafts
of light that punched themselves
between maples became ramps
to somewhere better and all
you had to do was hold on
as the bike ascended...

You now stare at the ceiling
and raise your arm, fingers
drawing stars into the cracks.
If only you knew how
to forge the North Star,
sail away from this room
with its night sweats and
oppressive hours. The grasshopper
snaps quiet, leaving morning to do
what it must--break dumbly
against things made and unmade,
to go on, to exist.

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