SILENCES


(Dinner at the Hotel Adlon, 1936)  

This

is not the silence

of things growing:

moist dark; rich loam

stirred by attentive grubs,

roots wriggling with promise,

a spume of dung and pollen

on the air.

 

It is the sound

of ice, the polar icecap;

sterile as salt, angular

as hipbones, the gaps

in our conversation

grind, shift, freeze

to the wind.

 

We

are all blades and edges

light bounced from crystal

brilliant and blank

as gemstones

 

beneath our table talk

a glacier heaves.


From Midstream (April 2002), reprinted in  Watered Colors