I have an ear for silence, the not-said and almost-said of a voice in the room
or the once-said so long ago it’s gone to the stars and back like a plucked and quivering string.
Call it the music of the spheres, that insistent ringing of a divine bell
or the toll for living: thump and blood-hum of a heart’s undisclosed lives—
no yawning matter for the mouth that opens only to close without a murmur.
Call it an old couple’s secret handshake, and keep it: after years together, no need for words.
This poem won honorable mention in the 2017 River Styx International Poetry Contest and was published that fall.
May I just add my apologies for “disappearing” for so long – on top of many other events, we took our usual 6 weeks on our boat, mostly media-free, soaking up life on the water, emails and news unavailable in most of the little bays we stayed. And I forgot to post that.
A couple of hundred miles up the coast
two weeks into a summer of cruising
we end our day of fishing with a movie.
But the shouting and shooting carve sharp
initials into the tree-deep silence here,
so I step outside, right onto the glittering
dance floor of an olive-black sky
on a clear, good night. My mind whirls,
words falling far away, then my fears,
then even the best of the best in me, all
dwarfed by this lavish sprinkling of stars:
confetti of the gods, tossed long ago upon
a lifted veil—marrying me now to the
faintest glimmer of worlds beyond ours.
I gaze, it seems forever, a moth burning
to remember a dream wings can’t forget.
I am thrilled to have this poem nominated for the Best of the Net 2017 Anthology by editor Cristina Norcross of the Blue Heron Review, where it appeared July 2016!
Waking up in the night
before the bugling of birds,
no child’s screams
tracking the 3:00 a.m. train,
no trucks or buses
bellowing into the valley
from the mountain highway,
no siren, for once,
gathering all who can hear
into its grief,
to your stammering
sinking past the debris
washing over you
like a river-rich sea
Your family sleeps, unaware
you are stealing eternity
for an hour.
By the time they rise
you will be ground into sand:
a beach that can hold
the jump and jaunt
and slow toe-kick
of all their footprints,
until evening’s flood-tide.
This is the title poem from my chapbook, “Stealing Eternity”.