how the men want to fly!

How the Men Want to Fly
by Rachel Snyder

I am holding men’s hearts in my hands these days,
running my fingers over toughened scar tissue, tracing the rutted pathways
of emotion run roughshod, and breathlessly lingering when I
feel myself sinking into soft spots around the edges.
The braille of a man’s heart is not so different from my own.

They come one after another, dragging their piecemeal armor on the ground behind them
rusting and clanging and kicking up dirt in the breeze,
arms and torsos twisted and pained
from failed attempts to simply fling off these burdensome hunks of plated steel.

How the men want to fly!
To put down their overstuffed attaches of the soul on the dusty ground beside them and rise up in feathery lightness,
They have set small fires alongside the road.
They have used up their last matches in incendiary rage.
They do not yet know that armor will not burn,
can never be torn apart with one’s teeth.

The neon sign outside my temple says eternally open,
around-the-clock priestess
They cross the threshold, leaving the scent of their bravado outside the door.
So tired each one of them is
exhausted from running to keep up
to hold his equilibrium in place and fight the descent into darkness.

They turn as I peel them gently,
to the floor
Unbound, the men shudder,
O Madre! they cry in silence
O Sister! Abuelita! Virgin! Maiden! Whore!
Sinking, the men tremble
then melt under the harsh frailty.
There are puddles left behind
and in them, Look!
the Moon has tossed slivers of her smile.

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