Famous Last Words


‘repito par el organo orel de tu silencio.’ Vallejo

I am a column of silence, resonating where it touches
on our world;
reluctant as silk drawn from flesh, or a harp
singing in its cage of wind.

My tongue is shaped by sibilants of grass
upon air,
stone against thorn.

In my mouth
vowels age like seasons longing to become soil.

The trees with their arms laden.
The trees with empty hands.

I speak for the pause between waves,
for the night wind resting at the edges of itself
and the easy dissolution of clouds.

I speak for snowfalls and the flecked granite,
for the mirrors clutching their people
of familiar smoke.

I speak for tomorrow’s dust.

And I speak for my dark father, who floats face down
in the slack shadow-waters of memory, his mouth
rinsed clean of air.

I speak for want of silence.

John Glenday


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