By Lawrence Wray
Which poets were called for by losing
a voice? When they had I knew
instantly my own lack, and returned
to their poems as I do a wound,
repeatedly, that itches as it heals;
as I do the time of day my loneliness
lightens inexplicably and ceases to matter.
So I come back, hoping for closeness.
You may have seen me standing
stock still on a sidewalk, in the way again,
listening to another urging, it may seem
to you in a generous moment.
And I was. My voice was timbered
with ghosts who were waiting to be born.
You thought perhaps I’d had a stroke.
All my words that are undoubtedly yours
fizzled in a sun spot, and the gold
green-blue circle you saw hover in my eyes,
the circle of faces that now, since you
looked, has captured your own, instead
of desiring you must mean all trace
of me has been erased. Or that I, mostly
irretrievable, have forgotten my name
and how to walk, and may never learn how
to turn to those that are my sound again,
with or without a hitch, a lurch, a leg
that abandons me. But my friend,
we were always walking from our first
awkward steps toward someone we love
or tried to love, toward a yellow butterfly
that one day, in a grassy field welling
with sunlight, jinxed through the air just out
of reach as you have me and I have you.
Lawrence Wray’s work can be found in the anthology Verse Envisioned and in journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Presence, Poetry Salzburg Review, Indiana Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Dark Horse, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. His collection, The Night People Imagine, has twice been a finalist for the Antivenom Prize at Elixir Press. New work can be found in Coal Hill Review and Relief.