We curse. We gather arms. We show our bloody beasts.
Once every word is drawn and swung, we turn to silence.
The burial wrests all speech. Black pleats. The deceased
are bound to listen, hear each hollow from urn to silence.
For once the heart is broken—like wild phlox it sprawls
open—we grow in beauty and lust and yearn to silence.
From within the mosque the athan calls. We come. The walls
still ring, still calm. In bows and words, we’re sworn to silence.
Outside, the birds wing home and sing. The moon shows weak
as twilight—mountain, hill and tree each born to silence.
Below, the river rasps its rock; the oceans speak
to shore. At last, the largest stone is worn to silence.
We kiss still without words. Our truths we learn to silence.
All battles, bards, and birds one day return to silence.
Ana Michalowsky lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. She received an MFA from Pacific University and a BA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. Her work has received a Vaclav Havel Scholarship from the Prague Writers Program and was a finalist in the Atlanta Review’s 2017 International Poetry Contest.