Each Letter

When a woman is killed
the cicadas go looking for their shells
and put them on again and climb
back into the earth and the year
returns to February. And if
the air is chilly
she feels it - in fact, if you
put your hand on her arm
you would know she still remembers
how touching changed the weather,
how a hand skimming the wrist
was once a window
opening onto a better season
where people did better things
than be lonely, where the wind
was a river of candlelight
pushing the blue silhouettes of trees.
It doesn't matter that everyone
thinks she feels nothing - in fact,
she prefers it like that because
more than anything else, right now,
she feels tired and would like
a moment to herself
while she tries to remember
the name of her sister.
But each letter is so heavy
that carrying a whole word
to the front of her mind
is hard, so she stays there
remembering the warmth of honey
between her toes, with her blood
not humming, with the sound
of the name almost always coming to her.

From HURDY-GURDY (Cleveland State University, 1992)


Poems by Tim Seibles

Each Letter


The Caps on Backward