|Learning a Dead Language
To speak one, you must first learn
silence. On the flight into Egypt
they named the world
from the Book of Dreams.
Stand in a hollow until the animal moves.
Watch from the hill as the fires are lit.
There's a word for the kind of peace
after hope has fallen, a phrase
for the blear of sun on a brass buckle.
Today, the wide world is silenced.
Voices in the long hall, steaming bowls
of spices, trampled beneath
an accent, a single utterance.
When at last you return to the open
market, everywhere, the nod
of recognition. The secret
is to smile when you say this sentence:
Come in, sit down, welcome.