Toward a Kingdom of Ends

When I see them as an end-in-themselves,
    I have seven mothers 
and I perceive the languages they speak
       as untranslatable and liquid
as the rings of a planet burning seven ways
    to the same point.

When I see him as an end-in-himself,
    the man on the corner
is my father, and the dollar he takes
        was his already, his fingers tucked it beneath
the pillow of my crib one night to satisfy
    the gods who made me wail.
And still they took his sight.

When I see it as an end-in-itself,
    the bluebird that dies,
        The boy who searches for it in the blue leaves
singing softly
    is a wound in the magnificent flesh of time.
I would pay any god
    to let me take his place.

Copyright © 2017 Christopher Brunt. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Fall 2017.