I don’t know how to talk to you, don’t speak
your dusky tongue. You keep your words on a long

leash. I hear them padding from room to unlit
room, dancing rainstep, hollow ring of

each cloudburst footfall another perfect
note from your song in the key of sunlessness.

Ears clutching for sounds I know, familiar
phrases; what glint and hum of shadows I grasp,

I can’t answer, having never drunk of
that vocabulary, your twist of bees in a

dark jar. I grope through damp passages,
never hearing the lukewarm ghost of my secret

name past the liminal hiss of sleepless
barren Patience, of mourning midnight’s curtain

as though it won’t survive these scattered flaws
that mutely gasp to leak the awkward light.

(first appeared in print issue 2 of Prick of the Spindle)