We listen carefully
certain we can hear it
if and when it appears.
We hear nothing, but we
are used to not hearing,
but faith is a far more patient
than it is given credit for
and we have nothing to do
in any event, other than
to abide an event
we cannot predict
is a skill we have refined
since we were evicted
from the garden, apple in hand.
You must be home now,
or somewhere you can answer
my call, and the busy signal
or disembodied voice, purporting
to be you can only mean that this
very moment if you are calling me
the busy signal or disembodied voice
purporting to be me is giving you
a momentary frustration rivaling my own.
This must be the state of the world
for otherwise you failure to answer
could mean but one thing, and I
can no more accept the preposterous idea
that you might actually be speaking
to someone else rather than awaiting
my call with bated breath, and
certainly not that you are sleeping,
your phone switched off, never mind
that where you are, it is well past midnight.
In this place
there is a fatted,
It is the large
nestling the road
and the District are loosely
It is a small plot
This ground is sacred
not for the blessing
of one who
has taken the tallit
The sanctity of this
from the simple pine
boxes that return
with the body
to the soil.
The stones, mostly simple
with neatly incised
are all blank
to me, worn
smooth by memory
I place my ear
carefully to each, wanting
to hear a voice,
a fractured whisper
that will resonate
in the hollow spaces.
I pass by those
with shared names
for if he or she is here
each must share
they willed me.
at the faces
of passing mourners —
the morning mirror.
I grow tired
of the search, sit
in the paltry shade
of the ricinus plant
knowing we both will
be gone by sundown.
First Appeared in Legal Studies Forum, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2005.
He often comes to me in dreams.
In most he is faceless, but intently present,
speaking in a voice I instantly know,
nothing like mine and totally mine.
On occasion his face appears, blurred,
as if seen through a scrim, back-lit,
vague, an actor in some film I have seen,
but yet not that person, that character.
For a while I saw my own face, but I knew
that was just my wishful mind filling in a gap
which has yet to be filled, knowing
that it likely never will.
There is probably much that could be said,
a bit less that should be said, but I
I’m not the person to say it, and remain silent.
You are surprised by the silence — it is
not what you expect of me, and that
you find disconcerting and a bit unnerving.
If I asked you what you would have me say,
I doubt you could find anything in particular.
It is more the sound of my voice you expect,
not the words I choose to utter or retain.
It all comes down to words, doesn’t it?
And yet they fail us with such regularity,
we each must wonder why we speak at all.