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Sound with the cries of Rachel’s children.
Moan over empty hillsides and river runnels,
among the broken stones of abandoned streets
and fallen fences, through empty channels
and sharp-ledged ravines resonant with echo.

Rasp and rattle with the integrity of a perfect
reckoning down the metal roof onto the splash
pans of gutters, down the pipes of open sewers.

Snore skywide with sporadic mumbles.
Rumble from your own soul sources.

Stutter erudite nonsense, a stentorian
preaching from high altars, pellets clicking
and tapping among the leathery leaves
of oak and hickory in the upper towers
of the kingly forest.

Is that the giggling of lost Peter and Aaron
pattering on the cold lake’s surface?

Speak, an eloquence devoid of message
in the silence of floating fog. I’m listening,
the voice sinking among the invisible
blades of the morning marsh.

Tarry awhile in the dark, humming the sleep
and lullaby common to that far place
from which you have come.

In retreat, challenge slowly in single words
striking randomly: now, and now, now,
now and now.

In the dust, spit large rounded vowels.

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The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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