Words Without A Song
A week after
the killings, I read an overview
of the elegy. The long thin call of birds
plays in the background; that CD
where a man’s voice interrupts to name
each feathery blue-and-gold composer.
All day the airwaves
shatter with freshly
arranged terms for war, for retribution and
The sky holds above,
foiled, silent horizon.
And us trampling the middle air
where amaranth first brightens
When what was mine was six weeks old,
legged chimney-bird stood in the lemon grass.
No swaddled baby swung from this stork’s beak.
tale to tell. Only my story in autumn of you
landing for the first night alone in your crib.
An owl flew by
the frosted cabin window, foxfire in the brush.
Piercing cries at water’s edge, then the subtler notes with first
in the trees.
You slept under blankets, a goldfish in a bowl by the curtain.
Two breaths, ripples
moving in and out on the marsh. The wind.
Our home in cobalt blue I called it, place-name for this sphere
the void—porch by the side of the road, wind chime
with whole and quarter notes colliding.
-from The Swing Girl
Snow on the hills, and the slow sleep begins
that lasts until spring
when sunlight pries like a knife—
earth no longer a damp cave but something lit,
with a shifting
The white one with wings flies by with twigs in its beak.
of long ago that we made prophesy in our rainy
placebo of cool water
on our faces us fumbling around
with thoughts to bring down whatever we could and anything
that might follow
we carried sticks of and for fire loaded barrels with gray
powder hot breath to the match hot air in the head
we hung ropes
from branches crushed villages and spoke
in a broken tongue
we drew conclusions without a sable brush or carmine ink
sounds for no that translated into kill
this never again will happen
each phrase had an angle
that hooked some
and gutted others
sharpness bit through the leaves hindquarters
snapped in a steel trap
Listen to Soniat read her work here