Once There Were Words

Once there were words
that broke apart like rain
crashing upon the tops
of open umbrellas

Sometimes these drops fell into
the open mouths of children longing
for the delight of wet
and excitement
the beginning of winter
and waiting wanting tongues

Sometimes drains that ran to the sea
would swallow the whole flood
like a liquid dinner
a stomach full of regret
indigestion, and prepositions

Then the moon would rise
upon night stilled by storms
branches and leaves left
clean and green and wet
by nouns and verbs
of indiscriminate origin

I will put on my grey-yellow boots
my jacket and cap
I will venture into the garden and survey
the weedy pond
the wasted roots
spreading out into the side-yard
the variegated broadsword leaves
the quiet rhododendron
these dripping with consonants and vowels

Coming back into the warm hall
I look for the warm towel to dry
my tousled hair
to make sense of my dripping soul
to clean up the cursives
that have been left upon the floor

© Steve Brackenbury


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