It’s a singular silence, meaning my own
awareness of berries, grandfathers’ jackets,
first ladies, quotes & postage is there.
Once it was the pound of a character
putting it down, but now it’s just ground out,
each letter fallen into place like a dark, sweet flake
when the burning is over.
There was a package of cloves & a thin, tight joint
in a grandfather’s coat, light gray, in the pockets.
He took them out & said it was a tale,
told by an idiot. We lit. We left
when the burning was over.
We drove, without drink, without want,
without false idle thoughts about God,
God of Beethoven, deaf,
God of castrated Abelard.
He said, “Hell was a tale, told by an idiot,
when the burning was over.”
He’ll often smile like a man without shame.
There’s talk of England, Europe, the coast.
At most a lame faint desire
we know, sitting, smoking, reading verse,
the talk remains the same & unrealistic.
His cares are not restricted.
There are rhythms. There are words.
& one can do worse than to write this of us:
the silence is mine, I claim it, & wait
for the letters to fall into place
like the dark sweet flakes from the smokes
that you took from your grandfather’s coat.