Six Trials to the Sanctuary

by Matthew, 17
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

I.

Go back to the city, back to the iron skinned fathers

who fastened you in under their boldfaced, dense shadows

and closed their ears to your mouth when all you wanted

was a cup of quarters to release the blue from your arteries

and give it back to the sky, a tribute for a life poorly made.

 

II.

 

Stick to your roots as a dweller of the cave in the undergrounds

of the subway; they all know that we made the Earth rotate

and exchange energy through our bodies in order to make the trip

back to the neighborhood; they are in denial, afraid to go back

to the nostalgia of boomboxes and vintage Mountain Dew cans.

 

III.

 

Now I’ll need you to rise up, rise above the hordes of nonsense

these people practice to themselves over and over like a religion

and take the 18. Take the 18, do not walk, talk, or idle; just take the 18

to the intersections of the Rising Sun. Then, run away from the hoagie place.

 

IV.

 

A blossoming tree blocks the path to where I’d meet you

in those heavy April storms, pink and white, grabbing the attention

of all who dare to come near. I’ll need you to bow down now. Bow under,

preserve the nature you always admired, and continue north.

 

V.

 

You've seen these steps before. The same spot where a praying mantis

graced your presence, where finches hung out in the small garden,

and where the squirrels made their homes in the canvas of the roof.

 

VI.

 

I’ll leave a plate of chocolate chips and oatmeal raisins on the table

and a towel at the door. You are free to use the floor however you please.

When you’re ready, go up and talk to me in the mirror. At least take a peek.

 

VII.

 

We’re already here, but I’m just so happy that you’re still alive.

 

 

Written in response to “Five Directions to My House” by Juan Felipe Herrera.