Twenty-two, come from the underground,
you’re through with the mine’s night shift and wear coal dust
like vernix while playing Clair de Lune. Moths crowd
the porch-lit screen door, and you’ve come to trust
your ear for every chord. Dark note by note,
how many hours you’ve searched for songs that burn
like lustrous rock—your damp neck creased with soot,
your hands unclean—only to be spurned
by stars repeating, Time, Time, Time.
My only brother, in the pitch of sleep, may hymns
resolve for you. May your dreams be more than ash.
May you climb to a house of light and blind
yourself at its windows, breathe its music in,
and beat your wings like prayers against the mesh.