Who will speak these days, If not I, If not you?
–Muriel Rukeyser, The Speed of Darkness
it is the dead who bother—the body
their swirl their capsizing my
their amputation of a word before it becomes
how they catch like a snag in the everything of weeks
how I re member the murdered
the dead with their excellent moans
their damp clamp of sentence
how many when the many accumulate like like like a lifetime
those war-dead the ones who went the ones who didn’t the ones who never looked up
they crowd inside me so
liver intestines the lovely kidney third finger i won’t say heart I won’t
i stand in a room so empty it is empty of me
who will be the throat of these hours
trembling in their neutered time
how the kill is done who does it why it is done in the heavy rain or the brittle battlefield or a place so green it hurls its color at you or the rice or the banana or that which calls forth a lake or desert or mud or land grass sky cow duck child infant a pregnant woman herself an alphabet or abacus or something else something dwindled down to your own odor
what war flows through
the shape of your body speaking its evidence
those dead lose words ambulance breath buffalo chiffon clavicle conflagration cusp croon crocus cobalt crisp café dandelion (dandy lion) delirium dunes echo eyelash well i could go on and on and on and perhaps that is it those words the dead will never list or lisp or say perhaps its as simple as that as deadly as catastrophic as calamitous as enough as that
oh and chrysanthemum
Veronica Golos is the author of the poetry books, Rootwork: Lost Writings of John Brown and Mary Day Brown (3: A Taos Press), Vocabulary of Silence (Red Hen Press, 2011), winner of the 2011 New Mexico Book Award, poems from which are translated into Arabic by poet Nizar Sartawi, and A Bell Buried Deep (Storyline Press, 2004), co-winner of the 16th Annual Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, adapted for stage and performed at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA. Golos has lectured at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, Hunter College, Julliard School of Music, Regis University, University of New Mexico, Dine Technical College, Kansas State University, and Colorado State University; she is co-editor of the Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, former Poetry Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and core faculty at Tupelo Press’s Writers Conferences. Selections from her upcoming poetry book, GIRL, was awarded the international Naji Naaman Honor Prize 2019 out of Beirut, Lebanon. Golos lives in Taos, New Mexico with her husband, David Pérez.
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