for my father
We step inside the octagon
pillar. And we ascend.
Each turn of the spiral
stair breaks another one of your words
from its memory foothold—
bar ri er
in can des cent
un der tow.
against the white-washed
concrete floor base below
and dissolve without leaving
residue. 1764, the year
it was built, splits
onto the treads we’ve just climbed.
By the time we reach
the lanthorn, the Fresnel lens
freshly cleaned and functioning
into the 21st century, the sky
has cleared for us
to see in all directions—Atlantic Ocean,
Jersey Coast, Verrazano Narrows
Bridge, the Empire State
Building 20 miles north.
In the heat trapped inside and panorama opening wide, whole sentences fly
off our tongues, circumnavigating
enunciation. Did they jump,
or were they pushed? I can retrieve them
later, if you wish. For now,
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