At Sunrise We Celebrate the Night’s Passage


At Sunrise We Celebrate the Night’s Passage

And discuss not the darkness of crows, but the structure of phonemes
embedded in our names, the gratitude of old fences, of broken

circles and extinguished flame.

Two weeks ago he poured wine and declared himself Dog.

There are roosters, too, who cannot crow,
other speechless men, and lonely burros guarding brush piles.

What letters form silence? From what shapes do we draw this day?

Light filters through the cedars and minutes retract,

as the bull’s horns point first this way, then that, lowering themselves
through the millennia, becoming, finally, A as we know it.

With my tongue, I probe the space emptied of tooth.

Barbed wire was designed to repel, but when cut sometimes curls

and grabs, relinquishing its hold only by force or careful negotiation.
Symbols represent these distinct units of sound.

My name is two houses surrounding an eye.

Yours consists of teeth, the bull, an arm, the ox goad.


Originally published in Prime Number Magazine, one of my favorite online literary journals, in 2013:

39 thoughts on “At Sunrise We Celebrate the Night’s Passage

  1. Barbed wire retains its shape after healing of your arm. it is not the same material and it should be all the more able to give not to take, for it is of aluminium and not steel and your arm is of Steel, My friend, with writing hand that makes you all the more superior to the rest. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Excellent advice! Back in junior high, I kept a journal of self-pitying poetry driven by an unrequited love. This tome of sadness had the portentous name, “The Blue Binder”. If you’re wondering, that’s because it was a blue binder.

        After requiting a different love, this binder sat neglected in my parents’ basement. One day when I was in college, the basement flooded. My parents gave me a box of what they could salvage. To include The Blue Binder.

        Came home from a night at the bars to find my roommates reading aloud from it, laughing so hard they were wheezing.

        I could have saved myself two years of ribbing by reading that stuff out loud some time over the intervening decade. Then burning it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Excerpt Tuesday – At Sunrise We Celebrate the Night’s Passage – Okaji | Illustrated Poetry

  3. Reblogged this on Slavomir Almajan's Blog and commented:
    Very profound! I am very happy to share this. Somehow my questions resonate with the author’s. I guess, Robert, you and I share the same language of silence that sometimes bursts in poems like “At Sunrise We Celebrate the Night’s Passage”. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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