A Long, Quiet Word

Words, rumors of the wind through drafty walls

and windows like these. Light-pierced,

burnt, the great spilling of words.

Word is a memory, a dry leaf

rustling past a bare tree—a marvel in green

but gravely now blown away.

Dreaming word. Meaning’s but part of the madness,

the real art being love. Which myth endures

bodiless in mind? Which mortality stirs

sounds in the wall? Are you gone forever?

Here and now wrecked

over and over.

Vesperal whispers rise and drop, speak, stop.

Echo in my cavern of stars.

One word rooted

as if its stem were a wound

in the heart of a man. I,

blurry as the sky.

Haze obscures the sun.

And the words lighten. Fresh air in the chest,

grandmother’s stories blessed at river’s edge.

A small bay in a small town, windy, wet.

Her voice rises to the weather;

look a sailboat leans far off in the channel.

Memory wills the day, and as such, freedom

fades. The words were so long ago.

Leaves and papers stumble down Fifth Ave,

dancing in red tailight exhaust.

Fear pokes through the city,

a splintered brain hurrying,

incapable of the task. Wind on my face,

gentle power channeled through downtown’s crevasse.

My eyes tear, nothing to do but let them. This,

body has in spite of mind.

What does fear say? I hadn’t planned

to say it myself. A poor command of ethics,

dear little crying. Shall a long, quiet word make me understand?

Or will this wind smother

a full long look within?

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