I cannot throw them off, these old ropes
that bind my wrists and ankles, and my neck,
that twine my body round -
the blood from their rasp and chafe
familiar and routine a thing
stains my ground black with its 
recurrent dripping

and the roughness of them: thick like horse-hair
coarse-cut from a sturdy head
woven strong along their hairy length -
well they do their job
to splice the life of me

and when I try to free myself
they constrict, a living snake
noosed about the neck
that threatens its potential
lethal stroke, yet in the waiting
is slack.

And so my life is bound:
my stasis is a silent thing 
of croaking and no voice
of menacing no sound
for when I try to stand
scrape them off and walk away,
I lose my solid ground, am hung,
and feet jolt down suspended,
run the air.

It is this chair, these ropes, here:
the root of me
that ties me to my time
of voiceless suspension
allied with the past
for without them I am nothing -
free as air, light
and aimless as a seed
unanchored, cast adrift
to fall and rise, or fall and die -
potential shoot from the old
could find stones and no good earth
no sustenance
no past
from which to multiply.

So I need them, these old ropes
that tie me down -
without them and their hurt
I am nothing: I am less than breath
and purposeless.
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