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, and posted here in September 2015. Cantinflas the donkey makes a cameo appearance in this poem…