Ascent

I want less and less to become the knife, 
                or the white man it wields; only 

to have him witness me and call it progress. 
                I enter the horizon and promise 

to keep quiet. I make myself excellent 
                and imaginary, crawl higher and higher, 

land in the fire escape and watch the shadows 
                in the alley glint, some minor prophet’s 

streetlit heaven. I climb up to the roof 
                and open myself to flight. Cars rushing past 

like messiahs, autumn trees no longer 
                pretending to bloom. I’ll answer 

your question: yes, I know my name. 
                I know where I’m from and why I am 

unlikely. I know everything holy is only 
                a failure of distance; a man, far enough 

from his knife, turns into memory. Sometimes 
                when people say I’m knocking em dead 

I remember that everything exemplary I know 
                or ever will begins with a small girl 

on the floor begging please 
                please                 make them see me 

— Gaia Rajan (from SWWIM)