from Journal: Rai'ut Coma Ward, Tel Aviv-Yaffo, July 2003
[July 7 2003, Coma Ward, Reflection]
What do we call it,
the light that prisms and keeps
opening its monarch wings, and won't
fold them or let them be
pinned down even as grief
fastens itself to us—regardless of this;
that lunatic light polishing the shell
of a house, handfuls of room, a teaspoon full—
the light's indifferent ardor keeps perusing—pitched
far from the mouth
of a sink, where a woman stood—stands still,
in a plastic colander, now in an archive of heat
lit by another wick of light.
Light is its own architect. Its own
contractor dismantling chambers
of the heart to make it an aviary—its own
wrench—converting hallowed space for hollow bone
and wingspan. It is its own
sickle threshing the violets
of shadows from feet. Its own
general and chief, whose strong jaws reveal something
like pearls inside the shell
of an empty room.
What to call the silence
whose syllables are spades,
whose flushed skin is an orchard's flushed skin?
The sweaty crooks of quiet's elbows itch
from the fruits' fur. The steam of Turkish coffee
riding the light between the trees,
bandaging their lesions with light's gauze
where the bark has sutured itself
and ladders lean cautious as tongues
testing the hot tea of dark leaves— evidence.
How to say the wounded days try
to be faithful, that they're not
staunched, yet beautiful, the sheerness of their iris and plume,
mandarin and thistle, though the sky keeps
falling, bleeding through rice-
white clouds, falling; to say memory—mint she'd planted
still growing on its sill—
dull coins of it in paper cups;
how dahlias flowered
near the tomb; a star's
a searchlight; the night a torn dress.
July—we word our days. We name them
ache of bells,
cars ablaze, exile, the living dead,
armies of boys—fire stroking their faces, children.
And our sentences bare themselves
to stay perched
on the lines of our salt
sharp pages, to stay steady, be luminous.
But what happens
when language can no longer bear us?