Sunday, August 28, 2016

Where Dead Voices Gather

If songs can never tear down
his cardboard coffin's white walls
or split plastic seams and spill
his gray ashes and bleached grains
into a man's living shape,
then let words brighten the black,
fill the mouth, and stir his tongue.

If I listen to him speak
and again hear his timber
like a new buzzsaw purring
or drill bits sinking in wood,
its sound will drown out echoes
from the absence of his face.

He will answer for his death
and give a complete account
of heavens and hellfires
his spirit cannot enter
because if I keep talking
he will never be silent.

My father's running blindly
across black peony fields,
his hair blowing off his skull
like the thinning, tangled wake
from a tailspinning rocket.
He wants me to let him die,

but if he cannot return
and my words can never join
ashes like jigsaw pieces
and solve this puzzling grief,
I will keep talking and run
where the dead voices gather.