said the Lord, this sigh indiscernible,
although the si– contained is louder than
the second fiddle, second syllable
that ebbs into its chopped-off sibilance.
The first one lasts awhile, the way we wish
that pleasure would endure, the vowel long.
It’s hard to leave the bed it’s made, mouth wide
until the utterance has disappeared
but leave we do—what choice?—arriving late
to consonantal noise, and then its absence
(second act the same, the first a quicker
drama). Good thing there’s a word good enough
to capture what we hear and don’t, or else
the music might go on, or else silence would.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.