• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 08
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escalators in glass buildings

in Crane's poem, the sea surface
as a kind of pattern, wherein
descent is form of knowing of how glass
both reveals and reduces a missing arm,
a hand wrapped around the still oil
of an elevator rail, and the night beyond
is only punctuated by stars. Fourth level,
or one hundredth, or the sense of seeing
a screen fading from some blue horizon
into blackness as if a star had, at last,
eclipsed and the air unburdened itself. You spoil
your lip against a too hot drink and watch
the air somehow condense, and the rain begin,
and the windows which seem burned and the rain drops
are bubbles toxic to touch, the air unclean,
the distance forever and reflected in itself.
You ascend, reflection
among reflection, dark form
risen and gently put down
again on an endless floor of faux marble,
the leering face of Odysseus,
the disappearing edge of the further stair
as a serrated knife puncturing, sideways,
the underworld, the tall lip of the building.