Distance

Even the ink grew mute, subdued:
the skim of pen, the wicked wriggle
were stilled. The letters feinted, fading
to speechless ochre on a hushed page.

Your voice became a pale echo,
a rustle of nib darting the surface
like a star on a ripple. Some days
you mimed a sigh, folding to air.

We suffered the pains of aphasia,
sent doctors into gentle motion
rushing to resuscitate
the trapped imperatives of speech.

Our tears were steam, or sentinels
treading the limelight's outer edge
in raven cloaks. We did not trespass,
sent messengers who would not answer

questions. Their taciturn
appearances sent slim glimmers
of silence into a cool void.
We were stranded across parallels,

held in check by a river's length,
listening for the evening. It fell
like a reflection. There was a space
of total isolation, a fraught pause,

and then the dark shard of your face
which my quicksilver fingers searched,
touching and touching its twilight
until our mouths were scarfed in flame.

From the book Love Poems