And When They Couldn’t Speak They Looked at Each Other

Isabelle Shepherd

At the party, I pressed pink star

stickers against your cheeks, but they fell

before I could wish, and today,

you look like you just found a peach

with a bruise. Today, I saw someone

dance as an angel, spinning with gold

wings and thought, I should try to be

a handful of flowers. You should try

to swallow the halogen lights

and holy water. Something to toss

your head back for. Something to add

to the list. Something about the days

we find and the bodies we try

to remember in bed. The solution

is not, nor has it ever been, the sound

of wind chimes in a minor key

before a storm, what rain does to sky.

If the weather channel could predict

more. If the stars had anything to say.

Even still, we give them words and birds

land in the middle of a sentence.

Today, a woman told me that God

had spoken to her. God told me to do

the work of the hands in the mouth.

Tell me what it means — to fumble

with every button and zipper,

to gather every leaf set loose by wind,

to try to hold water, to wring.


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