The Living Law / Jesse K. Butler
Our bus leaves the prairies, escaping the flatness
that stretches for days without break.
Those long strained horizons are too much to witness.
Your eyes and your mind start to ache.
The landscape breaks out into ridges and gullies,
with purpose shown through every flaw.
Some days you can scrape back the world’s shallow polish,
and glimpse at the wisdom at work in its fullness:
a deep and
My self-respect slowly begins to unravel.
I’ve worn these same clothes now for days.
The sun’s dropping down till it’s right at eye-level.
I try, but I can’t meet its gaze.
It’s as round and austere, and with edges as sharp,
as the blade of a circular saw.
But I watch its geometry soften and warp
as it meets the horizon to gently absorb
The passengers all hold this suffering in common.
They’re bound by the comforts they lack.
A soft even darkness has fallen, but someone
keeps snoring a couple rows back.
Well, sometimes I’m eager for human encounter,
but most of the time I withdraw.
On days like today I’m a lonely dissenter –
it’s like I don’t know that we’re all living under
the one same
An old woman’s searching the floor with a case.
She asks for help finding her teeth.
I want to turn back from her big earnest face,
but I’m held by the life underneath.
We wake here and struggle to shape a response,
all tangled in hunger and awe.
But then something cuts through the dull resonance
and draws us to join a reciprocal dance
and love the
The Living Law: Copyright 2021 by Jesse K. Butler. All rights reserved.