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Word lived in solitude.
Walked the dog before dawn.
Coffee on the patio. The air was thin.
There were no stars.
Silence drifted from the river
with the mist. Word
wandered through the house,
looked out the window.

Could the darkness speak,
what would it say?
What would Word answer?
Word took a deep breath, yawned,
and spoke the beginning.

Word spanned the darkness
in a single stride, sprawled
across the couch too exhausted
to speak, snored all afternoon,
woke with a bitter taste,
woke in the time of the human,

time of the archive speaking
beginnings into time. The time faded
and came back in a cloud bank
going gold then gray.
Time of the hall with mud floors.
Time of the sun.

Time of cathedral bells echoing the city.
Time of dust falling through the day.
Shining moon time.
Time of ticking hands.
Time out of time just in time.
Crumbling bread. Heavy wine.

Word walked in the garden in the early evening,
waited in the desert, went into the city, wandered
along the winding streets, read the law,
roared, slept some more, stirred
in dreams—What shines in profusion there?—

upended tables, screamed
all over, received wounds, broke
into works and words, spoke tongues
on the back porch, nighthawks
diving, cicadas coming on.

Word spoke another’s tongue—can you,
can you speak the holy time?
Lost time. Glowing digits time.
Dig in the dirt time.
Touch and taste. That
touch and taste.
Heavy bread, heavy wine.

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

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