Escaleras de las Almas

OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN,
It was a sweaty night. Damp regrets clung to everything like grieving barnacles, in the moonless dark. The scene was stale and what didn’t move was devoured by what did. Dogs chased cats, cats stalked mice, while the mice hunted after endless roaches. HALLOWED BE THY NAME. The hungry men drooled after the sweet honey of young girls, imagining the sweet shiver of the first candied dew drop; while the women sat lonely, rocking, and silently reminiscing of their yesteryears hunts, when their honey too was sweet.
I sat quiet, drinking, tucked along the edge of whiney stairs that creaked and moaned so ferocious I could hear each sinners step cry out and repent for the trespasses that propelled them. THY KINGDOM COME. In the fetid, weeping air, with my nose aimed in any direction, I could feel the thick dewy redolence of lust saturating the empty spaces, where Zeyphr never played. So still, even the flies were coupling. THY WILL BE DONE. Like lustful black bombers, piloted by horny little Red Barons, grinding away, invisible, in the sticky, sloppy, dark.
The towns horny little clock hands, almost as erect as its midnight hunters, had yet to strike twelve when I didn’t hear her creak past me. ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. A shiny ocher flash, she slid by so lightly, she must have owned butterfly feet. In the pale orange glow of the lamp lit street, her skin was the clay of pots, the walls of homes, and the tiles of their roofs. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD. Even at full speed she remained gently tucked beneath the bright blues, greens, and purples of her dress. And could those delicate feet move! Before I could stand she disappeared around the corner. My next pull of beer was warm with sorrow and biter with regret. AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES. Nothing would taste sweet until I saw her again.
The stairs bawled and shuddered with such fat violence that I braced myself against the cracking wall and watched the bottle slide from my hand and explode at my feet. AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US. Distracted by a warm soup of blood and beer, the hot glass shards making love between my toes, shrapnel and flesh in their loving embrace, I barely noticed the half buckled, nearly buttoned brute staggering down the stairs after her. Distracted by her skin I didn’t realize the blood at my feet wasn’t mine. Was it hers? AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION. With wings I shot down the stairs to be the stupid hero, the foolish white knight. My windmills appearing before me, my armor dull, I galloped down the stairs. Skipping every other, listening, as they howled with every half-drunk thud. I recognized their wails as gang-plank homilies from old wooden prophets. Preaching their whiney sermon, commanding me to stop, sensing my almost sin; my lustful murder. BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL. And as I rounded the corner into the moonless, sweaty night, the dogs, the cats, the mice, and the roaches, stopped and listened as the steps sang their weeping psalms in harsh whispers over the damp regrets of another night.

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM,
AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY,
FOREVER AND EVER,
AMEN.

Escaleras de las Almas

Jonathan Acosta-Rubio

New Orleans, United States

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