The City of Silence
by William Matthews
As far as a sound wave rings out
before it’s heard,
that’s where the city limits are.
I keep the place clean.
Anything you worship
will let you be its priest.
If I open my mouth
a word falls in.
Gods avoid their shrines.
The streets are paved with streets.
Sleep is my radio and all
its news is true.
Then Call It Swimming
by Ellen Bass
you are concerned. your writings
are not poems — there are no line breaks
sentences wind like coils of a pot
they are not stories — no beginning
middle end, characters
are not developed
the action is a child
in green chiffon
you apologize: I
don’t know what to call it
you want a name
then call it swimming. the water passes over you
the smoothness more enveloping than making love
your arm, arching in the sun
lit drops, crystals, falling
or call it walking, the air
cold in your nostrils
the ground soft with rotting leaves
the green is too bright
Â Â Â some are mushrooms, some maize
Â Â Â some take long as persimmon to fruit
Â Â Â some leave neatly
Â Â Â they are the black pearl droppings of deer
Â Â Â some are overgrown pups
Â Â Â they hang on your tit, you cannot
Â Â Â shake them off
coming home, returning
by a different route
call it a sandwich in waxed paper
we will give it to our children
call it an antidote
to what we have been taught
call it rubble, what remains
through pyres, altars, ovens, electricity
call it what comes in place of sleep
what we ask to know
a tribute to redwood pods, they
burst within fire, seeding