POETRY: JEAN VALENTINE – Silences: A Dream of Governments

Silences: A Dream of Governments

From your eyes I thought
we could almost move      almost speak
But the way your face
held there, in the yellow air,
And that hand, writing down our names–
And the way the sun
shone right through us
Down with us

Then
the plain astonishment–the air
broken open: just ourselves
sitting, talking; like always;
the kitchen window
propped open by the same
blue-gray dictionary.
August. Rain. A Tuesday.

Then, absence. The open room
suspended      The long street
gone off      quiet, dark.
The ocean floor. Slow
shapes glide by

Then, day
keeps beginning again: the same
stubborn pulse against the throat,
the same
listening for a human voice–
your name, my name


This poem originally appeared in Jean Valentine’s 1979 volume called The Messenger.

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