Every fall down,
she is there with strong hands
and impatient heart;
even if those hands are barbed
and the heart is filthy,
the frame is sturdy,
and it will hold up —
it holds up even the metro,
even the black bough.
It holds up even the spangled funereal dress,
and the ocean floor
full of yellow pincer-crabs.
God but it even holds up an unaware thief’s infant shoes,
and anise-flavored drinks
against long white dunes.
It holds up even the warm dry hole under the hill,
and it holds up the storm drain
with the paper boats and the red balloons.
It holds up everything
and props itself up against
the sign for Mercy Street,
and when the familiar strains can be heard,
she closes her eyes
and tips her head back
and lets the rain come.
She will never be washed clean or new;
she will never know an undoing that sets her free —
but she will take hold of the rags
of all the wheels within wheels,
the worlds within worlds,
and she will lash together
a dread machine made of blood and ink,
of pixel and steam,
of shadow and flesh,
and it will take its first breath,
birthed of her unholy heart,
and it will keen
for all it has never known, but loves
with the full-heart history
of a living thing
created of made-real dreamstuff
and dying breaths.