Nocturne (Lasciare Sonare)

Dean Rader

Sharp shard of another day,

                                             another post dawn, another wreckage

of dew and dew drop, the whole shellacked as if glass were

on the inside of everything,

                                             even the air between sky and eye —

the entire world waiting to crack along its fractures,

falling the way the hours fall into their own dispersal.

                                                                                           How, we ask,

can so much break all at once?

                                                  Somewhere a fire burns like a star

along the edge of what we cannot know,

and yet still we rise like the flame of a bent candle

into the empty cathedral of our routine.

                                                                 Long day,

longer night,

                   the old cul-de-sac of sorrow and silence.

We circle around our loss like a shell on a grant of sand.

What if just once we were not erased by our own absence?

O lost pilgrim,

                         what if your journey begins with this word?

What if a song written for you long ago can only now be heard?

What if someone whispers your name in her nightly prayer?

Suppose inside every prayer is another prayer,

                                                                           within every word another word,

an infinite ladder of letters always climbing back into each other.

And suppose within every song is another song,

                                                                           inside each note another note,

a second sound, a secret sound,

                                                    and what if within all signs are more signs

and inside each line a line of lines, a furrow of lines, a field of lines?

I believe we draw and are drawn into the ink of our unlived lives.

I believe we are echo and trace,

                                                   both string and bow.


              when the light lays down its knives,

and darkness, the weariest maestro,

                                                         picks up its baton,

you will know the music the dead left you has begun.

Off in the distance,

                               beyond the choir of cricket-thrum and wind-whir,

beyond the triage of traffic slog and the dark drone of device,

there is nothing but the past,

                                             asleep on its black pillow,

and you —

                      keep listening:

                                              the entire world may go silent,

but the little bell of the self

                                             is ready to ring.


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