It was mentioned to me yesterday that I haven’t been writing much. So I wrote.
Language is Hollow
for Megan Burke
My language is grim because I was born
in mid-century shadows cast by mushroom
clouds, eyes narrowed against brightness
yet to come; burning as the sun burns, limning,
morning and evening, the wings of gulls
in white and gold fire against the blue.
My language is grey because it’s been left
carelessly to weather in all seasons,
the absences of its broad vowels settled
in winter-long silences under roofs
while impatient winds pried at shingle
after shingle, rattled windows and doors.
My language is bitter because it’s steeped
in the lye seeping from ashes of truth
burnt daily by priests and prime ministers.
My language is neither salve nor balm,
it’s not a prayer or promise but a notice
served: all gods must die if we’re to live.
My language is hollow because it searches
in the broken coffins of our dead, stretching
dried skins taut and testing the resonance
with femurs lifted from the litters of bone,
tying phlanges of fingers to ribcages
hung from limbs of dying elms in the wind.
My metronome is the green autumn sea,
its constant waves against the shore
breaking into foam gulls rise from, white
and shrill; their cries are the cries of children,
hungry morning and night, drifting on
the wind from all quarters of the compass.