Alvin Pang


      My love, I fear the silence of your hands.
      Mahmoud Darwish

Overnight, my heart, the forest has grown cold
and every leaf shivers with the sure knowledge of its fall,
shivers yellow and maple-red and mauve, Summer remembered
in vermillion dying. When I walk the river now

it bears merely the lightest press of feet, my body swaying
to keep balance in the whetted breeze. I had to leave you
on the absent shore, a warm bloom nesting in the reeds,
an unfixed, iridescent eye. How we part

only the morning knows, and what we said already dew.
Tomorrow after tomorrow we will find the tongue to
remember our silences, or borrow words from the night's
vocabulary of sighs. Grief will teach you new names

and I will answer, hollow, in drumbeats and echoes,
in footsteps and softly closed doors, never looking
at you, never back. I place these words now in the vault
of sleep before it comes. Before the burial and the blood.


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