The Higher Language

I used to be fluent in that higher language.
Of the violent, Spartan sunsets. Of the hummingbird
isolated among petunias cared for by loving hands.
Those petunias were nebulae on Earth. The orbital bone,
a telescope. I would speak to you in this way.
The world was fantastical in spite of fading hope.
The dreams were never crushed into pixie dust.
Blown away by green lips eager to open
like a fly trap at the faintest buzz of failure.
I wouldn’t let them catch my scent.

I don’t know what happened.

The language became too numeric. Calculated.
Bills, money, rent, survival. Mundane. Bitter.
College education. Cynical. Sinister.
Peers changed and flew apart: shrapnel lodged
in peripheral vision. Somehow, it looks
like a cracked windshield. Clear, broken wings.
All of my friends are flies. Dying.

Flaws became easier to see and talk about.
Easier to talk about than any kind of resolutions.
Everything that’s wrong with the world, other people,
Grocery lists. Distractions. Unchecked to-do lists.
Once, I took the garbage out at 3 a.m. to escape
the stench of indoors. In the woods, a coyote froze,
then bolted.

Blindingly, I’m looking for either a god-given
or god-damned sign. An upturned leaf
with white language on it. I speak to you.
I tell you about the sunsets, hummingbird,
petunias, nebulae, bone,
telescope, hope, dreams, pixie dust,
greenery, failure for twelve hours.
I tell you about the shrapnel, vision,
windshield, wings, flies for five hours.

I tell you about the coyote for one fleeting minute.
Soon, I will not speak of it at all.

. . .

And yet, you have faith in me, still.
Unwavering. Even as I screamed for death
to come as it came for him, my blood-brother.
I tell you about death for fifty-two days.

You tell me about the time I used to know
something that could be eternal.

. . .

The moon. Well, it’s not quite a hole
punched out in the night sky. It’s not
a careless mistake, a spot left untouched
by a painter’s offhand oversight
on a blue canvas. Its craters don’t
form a face I wish to see again, but they aren’t
reminiscent of a cold void, either.
It isn’t a frightened pufferfish.
It doesn’t hide behind November trees forever.

Reflected. Changing. Phases.

It resembles a letter.


Published in Eunoia Review.