The Vast Vocabulary of Silence
Morning tide, palest green over crushed shells
refracting a cat’s cradle of light to net
scuttling crabs not where they seem, askew in bending rays.
Cormorants, ancient fishers, shake out their wings.
A vanished boat’s standing wave crests, translucent,
soundless before its crash
as a tumbled child drawing huge breaths
silent before its shriek.
As the sonogram, its quiet laser roaming
cloudy densities enclosed by
the clean arc of my ribs.
The bay’s stone outcroppings, eroded
blankets crumpled on the floor
of the broken world.
Their pocks and fissures bright with tidepools
that flex and twinkle the mayfly lives
of tiny ravenous filaments, polyps, vesicles.
Cool for midsummer, but the window open,
lilacs almost done
and on the wrinkled linen tablecloth
last night’s crumbs and stains in its loose weave.
But faint rings of wineglasses, cairns of pistachio shells
witness: here was laughter, pleasure of good food,
in our cupped hands, delicately held, joy
to flaunt in the vast vocabulary of silence.