How the Words Died

p
o
e
m
s

without heroism

               /               guards falling asleep

               /               a blood sky down

a storm of falsehoods blowing in

               /               thick gray vortices

               /               & walls of unmeaning

long-clawed lightning strikes

               /               the words terrified

               /               clinging to a tree

               /               wind lifted tossed up cast

into the air to be toyed with

               /               an imperial death watch

               /               the many twisting turns

until they wearied and gave up

               /               how each fell one by one

               /               naming in their tongues

the quaint villages they had come from

Fred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Said Not Said (Graywolf Press).

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