17: April 2017 #02 - These Days

Authored by Elijah Patterson

These Days

by Elijah Patterson

After “Some Mornings” by Richard Garcia

Try, now, and speak some words.
Here under this buzzing light, part your lips.
But is it ancient Aramaic or the
babble of children that twists your tongue?
The last stolen syllables of a language
on a hatch-shaded map,
stumbled over at family reunions
turned anthrolinguistic symposia,
until your language is nothing
but the words for grandfather and hello?

Are the gentle probings of your fingers against your ribs
the most basic of signs of life, or a complex grammar asking
     who is it living inside my chest
     when my brain cannot recall?

What is the word for the shape these thoughts take in your head?

As your hands continue the patient exploration
(a combat medic’s trained fingers?)
from the trunk and head to the outer limbs–
you will find the bracelet. Flip it over.
And there. A name. A date.

Then, the catching of a lock,
the shuffle of crepe soles against linoleum.

Here comes the answer, again.