Incantation for the Man Outside
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up
and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
There is no silence like the night by the train station
after trains leave, after moonset, after Venus moves
in an arc across the night to a spot blocked by Earth.
There is no silence like the brown bag, crumpled, supple,
drenched, the doorway filled with sack and trash, the way
the viewer’s eye reduces the weather-beaten man to drink.
There is no silence like the one in the tongue
where words wait for tooth and breath and nerve,
where threat floods the brain, knocking thought out.
What silence can there be for him when all sound is threat,
when outside is razor wind, when piss rims the nose, when inside
is forbidden, or inside the mind, a movie plays too loud?
The din stretches dawn to dusk. Pray.
The morning is still very dark. Pray.
Pray, make silence safe.