Barred the Eye’s Seeing

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.

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