Ann Townsend

(1962 / Pennsylvania / United States)

In The Limbo Of Lost Words

After our love, I lie in the shadow of your shoulder
and drift to the sound of the seventeen-year locusts outside,
their lonely tenor buzz that rises and falls together
and as suddenly stops, and flares out again.

Their rhythm sweeps against the sides of the house,
rustles like late leaves, a soft desperate rasping,
the ave, ave, ave syllables of air, skin against skin.
When we came upon her yesterday, inside the chapel shadows,

the young soloist abandoned herself to the words she sang,
her translation like an absence of language. Her music
cast itself away and away, pulsing on, until the silence
of an empty room took its place, where the heat of day

is only lamplight through the stained windows.
It filters across the dusty floor. It lights
upon a pale blue wall, indiscriminate in what it touches.
And the mocking, mating voices of the locusts return again

in their regular pilgrimage out of the earth,
out of the dark, into the shadows.

Submitted: Thursday, August 07, 2014

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