by Jon Adler
Ropes on the hands and feet of my friends
Wrapped around and oozing from
Stretching like snakes, up and down, from them
to the places they belong
They pour from heads, and ears, and arms and legs
Stretching from where they are to where they were
They span miles and counties and cities
And when my friends travel, they stretch across states
Ropes in bedrooms, ropes in the kitchen,
ropes lying across highways, and asphalt, and driveways
Snaking into cars they inherited
From older sisters who left their own ropes in the car,
And in the bedrooms they used to share.
“My ropes were here first; I remember when you were born.”
Ropes that cross each other
When they left home, they make new ropes, but they keep the old.
They love their ropes, and they esteem them.
Where the ropes go, they will follow;
Where the ropes lodge, they will lodge again;
Their people are still their people,
Their God will remain their God.
The ropes of memory set themselves, and the knots take counsel together
Against the Lord and against his anointed, saying
Let us break their bonds in pieces
And cast away their chords from us
Theirs is a freedom inside the ropes
Theirs is the ropey comfort of knowing where to return
Where are my ropes
If I cannot see them, who is to say they are
How can I, like the blind young prophet
Have Elisha pray for me
See the hordes of ropes around me, and believe
Believe, believe, believe-believe-believe
Thumbnail image by Walker Smith.