Aidan Ryan

Up Lethe, Down Lethe

Aidan Ryan

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As indifferent as a thresher, the escalator harvests

unripe dramas from the underground --

seeds of fear, contempt and love, religion, scooped

and scattered rattlingly at the top, never to be

planted -- by-products of linear proximity, of

exhaustion -- like the down-conveyor, always

broken. Unhusked, I enter air and begin again

forgetting steadily several lives imagined

in ascent:

                the hip-pat seeking wallet when rush

brushed by with plastic bags and flash

of Hanes --

                        the old professor tugging up

beltless jeans and waiting to see his friends who ask

What does the Bible really say? --


                                                          and cafe

au lait Achilles tendon, bare, funneling

down to Adidas golden laurels, eye --

level, until:

the step peaks and goes flush

as if to push us through the doors

and the wind that pushes back, wet

light and traffic of being alive.

A dozen daily Orpheuses open petal-

like to compass points, to solitary

lodestone lives, never looking back but

down, to concrete, loafers, and impossible

carpets wondering what heavy tolls

they paid in transit from the dream.

Aidan Ryan

Aidan Ryan is a Buffalo-based writer and teacher, adjunct professor at Canisius College, co-editor of Foundlings poetry magazine, and frequent music critic for Scotland's The Skinny.