Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Last. Child. Last. Child.

We do not speak in tongues or hold séances—
hands on a table,
ear to a distant hymn, as if our ghosts were nimble
advocates of speech. Away from trances,

we believe in the close-knit village
of our voices; rarely believe in voices
we can’t hear. A word depends on impulses—
air-catch, air-lease—that hold its meaning hostage.

Language, like the dawn, is the defeat of hours
and a second’s gain, to look at new geraniums
and say, timelessly: pink thumbs:
two words that leave the womb as flowers;

it is to hear, inadequately, words like “last”
and “child,” in threat of twilight. Say it again,
please: “Last. Child. Last. Child.” While a judgment
rides home, to its homecoming. Shouldn’t we ask

who and why, the plot and the dénouement, the ache
for endings? One child’s asleep now;
the other’s fitfully awake.  

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