Speaking of Being Mute


Let there be space, he said
between us and our words
Let tact gesture
what is not spoken
is not always withheld.

Tact is touch, she replied
each word reaching
towards a blessing
what is not given
freezes the hand

Spaces? glacier rifts,
continental divides...
reticence leaves
each wordmiser hunched
shivering to keep warm

Think, he insisted
silence is a gift
a lace handkerchief
autumn leaves pressed in a book
mourning what cannot be said

She can't think in a void
silence is a sullen power
a snarl of barbed wire
mould invading a diary
smothering what was said

Don't you know?
wordfalls deafen
what's oversaid
is not heard

We know nothing
in truth we must—
it is only right—
bear witness, testify

The mute suffocate
what is not spoken
will not be remembered
perhaps did not happen

blessed are they
who scratch wounds
tear wordscabs
from their flesh