“Yesterday Is Here” by Tejas Ranade

Wait a second.

For a minute, I thought
that the hours had passed
like people,
to celebrate a day of mourning
from the seven years that we prayed
around the shores to find the parade,
curled around itself through centuries
of cavalcades to hope millennium would
bring it a balloon sinking into
the dawn sky. There was a newborn once
who raised a finger of sand into the

dirt and clawed his way out of the
wombtomb, soon to be the righteous
among the sumptuous who feast their
lungs upon the merrymaking and instruments,
piping along the cobbledstreet as heat
of the journey begins to sweat the brow.
("Were we?" the statesman asks, hobbles
into the empty room and waits for applause,
audience with hands folded like napkins,
as surly as the gash on his arm,
clots swirling through the opening of fabric
from the time Ramses defeated the legions
of Sea People and ascended
to the moon on Horus' back.)

The party's growing now.
He can reach out and touch the bristles
on the back of a dancer's neck, drenched
with soot as sweat pours out of the smokestack
from the skyscraper above, rapier pointed to
the reddened clouds (embarrassed as they are,
for they could not fly through the fog of rain
as fast as Mother Unnatural and her brood.)

We all have headaches now. We can reach out,
wrest the hairy skin of the cave-dwellers as they
dipped their fingers in smoke and swept them
across damp walls, charcoal burning like
tears and through the stone. We rush into the
cavern, jesters gambling and juggling their
minds as the lion tamers' whips unwind and
the sign of the times is buried beneath
the minefield of drunken shouts and whispers;

("Are we?" the politician asks, his hair
on edge like a wild animal as he stumbles
into the room of poachers and priests,
stony silence covered with fingerprints from
the firstborn and soot from their veins.)
I have waited millenia for the centurion to
storm the battlements and declare the reign
of himself over all, but years passing into
days passing into the flutes and clicking
of rum-fired heels in stooping dance make
me pass the hours away, the minutes
slow with intoxication. I have been patient;
I can wait one
second more.