The origin of tears

Because we began as rivers stretched supine
along the slow-carve trace of sea-flow —
because we stared up into the chronology of light
and into the faces of saurian beasts
who saw in our liquid musings only themselves —

because the seasons passed over and through us
and we were absent volition, moved by the will of water
and mud, by the rain of cinders, by the slow unfurl of ferns,
witnesses in that waiting to meteor and eclipse,
scorch of heat and frost —

because in that great duration we could not sing
or laugh or point at the first crack in the egg,
we could not turn toward one another or away,
our meager cells scarred by a battalion of abuses,
our glue untested, at every tide change

threatening to split apart and wash away —
because when the sea abandoned the shore
to a sandscape of wind, we rose in gouts of dust
and fell again into an unwelcoming oven
where the margin of life was too small to measure

and invisibility equated survival —
because we were so near extinction
before we had truly come into being —
because we were less than dust
in a gully etched between lava flows —

because we recognized the hopelessness
of our survival, our evolution —
at that moment we compressed all energy
toward the center, as we do still,
and expressed our parched hopes with tears.

© j.i. kleinberg

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