As the screams fade into a whisper
That floats in circles and is blown away
Like ashes from the pyre by the wind,
We wear black to mourn the death
Of the dead word on the dying mouth.
The clueless crowd chants the word a thousand times,
No longer remembering the meaning
(Did it ever contain any? the deaf man asks).
The boats come and go from shore to shore
The setting sun has burnt the oar
And we row with our fingers,
Leaving behind ripples that will be replaced.
The living are left behind to taste more of death;
The appetite is lost at the sight of a full plate.
This day, our roots have been torn from us,
Our essence has been extracted;
We will live on as hollow husks ---
Faded perfume, jaded bodies,
We will walk like insomniacs sleepwalking
Until we knock at the knobless door behind all doors.
Someone else has claimed the cave in their hearts:
(The memory of flesh pulls stronger than the flesh of memory)
The sleeping word is now a dream only those awake can see.
The bridge between the two shores
Glitters in the moonlight, grows faint, and then evaporates.
Somewhere in a dusty heap of rusty scrap,
Another word is born,
And deaf men lean in and strain their ears
To hear what it means.