The Measure of Debt

How sweetly sleep the tree-lined streets

That guide the city’s weary. Unbearably

Light their burden tonight, the thin-soled

Steps of the unchosen in flight. How sweetly 

Scented and cleanly airy the lone highways

Under the cool moon’s light, their painted lines

Barely marking the grime of thousands of

Footprints crossing the white. How sweetly 

Flows the river blue through the city as it used

To do, rippling our endless thirst for beauty

That is our civilizational right. Spilt milk shared

By animals and men who bend their mouths

To the dark asphalt, sunrise placing of hunger’s

Hope mark the tar six feet apart. It used to be

That the beauty of death was that all it asked

Was six feet of ground. It used to be we kept 

In sight the measure of debt owed to Beauty’s

Might.

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