Silence is an echo unable to find its way home, a name
dangling mid-stasis. A mother cradles a dead son in her lap.
She sits alone in an empty room, the walls cider blocks,
the high ceiling with an oculus built into it, an eye
open to the elements. Tonight it will rain for hours.
Grief is a lunar eclipse, the moon blocked
from shining. A soldier cups hands around a guttering candle.
It is dark everywhere, except for these lit fingers,
these glowing bones, a Sprachgitter, a cage for words
now made visible inside his body. Tomorrow
he will suffer a broken hip and cry out for his mother
before he drifts into the first stage of unconsciousness.
Death is an envelope bordered in black, a paper tongue
glued to the mouth’s roof. No need to ask
or tear the envelope open hurriedly. Inside
you will only find another made of tissue, a mourning shroud,
a second skin. A sigh escapes
when you slit the delicate undergarment open
and expose a plain white card, no flowery verses,
no grasping, just the finality of a yesterday
there’s no returning back to.