Counterwords

By H.L. Hix

(After Ghassan Zaqtan)

They began to speak as if to me
at just the moment you first spoke to me

and though all those years between
your saying to me what anyone

might say to anyone else
and your saying what only you

could say only then and only to me
they followed me, those urgencies

that though they could not be spoken by
were spoken in and as your voice.

This wind contests, as any wind would,
the river’s definition of the gorge.

These crystal specks glint in sunlight as if
the rock face were wet and they the water.

Who knows which the wind here rouses first,
those mountains or the clouds that mimic them.

Though not whispered they were whispers.
Though not words they were of words.

They were counterwords and I heard them
as at night one hears smaller shadows,

shadows one cannot see, skitter
through larger shadows, shadows one can.

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Categories: Issue 5, Poetry | Leave a comment

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