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Ebb/ Flow

Nicholas Nebiolo


I look down at the bier. 

You’re palid, almost transparent. 

My Tantalus eyes break away. 

I’m in His house. I can’t feel my brothers 

next to me. The marble floors & impossibly 

hard pews take any physical comfort. The 

January chill forgetting its place, straying deep 

within me freezing my lithe fingers. She's 

    speaking, she looks so small, when did her 

eyes get so deep-set? Tributaries are flowing 

through wrinkles in her cheeks. Her voice 

    quivers as her head barely peaks over the 

podium. God why won’t someone take the 

microphone from her. 

We’re ushered up to the casket. You’re 

a husk at this point. Yet I expect you to 

get up and greet us as we walk up. To 

see you roll the boulder out of the way, 

leaving behind only a shroud. Instead I 

see the shadow of Atopos retreating; the 

sparse hair on your scalp proof of her work. 

I think back to the mayflies’ bodies littering 

the fountains, dewdrops resting on their wings; 

crystal adorned angels. Bones forced to outlive 

you. How long will I have to keep your memory; 

Longer than I knew you? 

I stand within the processioners. Disowned 

     by the one I’d endlessly defended. The one 

I had worshiped every Sunday, hearing 

compatriots being thrown under the bus, 

praying you would relieve me of my 

   kindred affliction. The one I’d force 

down feelings for, choking on oblations. 

    The one I’d kneeled in front of every 

street light reciting orisons for, feeling 

the light burn my skin, exulting it for its 

   purification. You’d unwind one of the 

         last strings I’d had to my home. Had 

            my emotional tithings not satisfied 

     your hunger? Zealotus dogmas not 

been inlaid deep enough? Expiations 

     not been loud enough? I guess 

           apologies ring hollow when the 

   intent behind them is absolution. 

How can this be life… 

I’m in your bathroom now, Letting a caldera 

form in my cupped hands. Hands that were, 

at some point, so small and frail you could’ve 

crushed them like glass. But you didn’t. The 

same way your grandfather didn’t, and his 

grandfather, and those before. Stopped by 

love; but not even first hand love, love with 

a degree of separation. A friend of a friend. 

My silent throes stuck in my throat as I 

board the flight back. Forsaken even by 

the sting of tears and not turning back. 

Sodom has no place for me anymore.



Labored breaths and aching legs. No 

energy for sorrow or anger, I continue 

up the barely marked path, head 

hung. It’s been 9 months since my 

desolation, or was it a desertion? Still 

unable to see your march to Eden, 

focusing only on the morose dirge. 


something makes me turn my head 

      to the sky. Crepuscular rays breaking 

through the trees spurring me forward. 

       A beacon cutting through the nihil. 

     Light refracting off my eyelashes, 

winged deity illuminating all. 

        Falling dust dancing in the light, 

casting no shadow, yet real 

   nonetheless. As the forty thousand 

steps turn to ten I see the spring. 

     Now sitting by the caldera, I 

  finally feel you all around. Salt 

streaking down my cheek. 

       Your impetus finding its way 

     back in the pulse. Back to me 

          through fire, water, air, and earth 

       to soothe me. 

             Crackling flames warding the ever present rhime, 

lady of the lake soothing my calloused feet, 

     summer zephyrs combing through my hair, 

and soft stones lulling me to sleep. 

      Swaddled in my sleeping bag 

        you’ll carry me to my bedroom 

and let me sleep to dream.

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