Incantation for the Man Outside

                  In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up
                  and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
                  —Mark 1:35

There is no silence like the night by the train station
after trains leave, after moonset, after Venus moves
in an arc across the night to a spot blocked by Earth.

There is no silence like the brown bag, crumpled, supple,
drenched, the doorway filled with sack and trash, the way
the viewer’s eye reduces the weather-beaten man to drink.

There is no silence like the one in the tongue
where words wait for tooth and breath and nerve,
where threat floods the brain, knocking thought out.

What silence can there be for him when all sound is threat,
when outside is razor wind, when piss rims the nose, when inside
is forbidden, or inside the mind, a movie plays too loud.

The din stretches dawn to dusk. Pray.
The morning is still very dark. Pray.
Pray, make silence safe.

 

 

Kate Gray

About Kate Gray

Teaching at a community college for 20 years, Kate Gray tends her students’ stories. Her first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in 2007 and followed chapbooks, Bone-Knowing (2006), winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize and Where She Goes (2000), winner of the Blue Light Chapbook Prize. Her novel, Skin Drag, is an attempt to look at bullying without blinking and will be published by Forest Avenue Press in 2014.
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