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Suzanne Edison

Whose Silent Night

Elegy to Silence

Whose Silent Night

Dare you speak to the wolf? Centered, hungry
for the world, he gnaws the disquieted
flesh and bone of fawn. Her silence, bloody.
Dare you disturb the throngs, unrequited
in their clicking lust, cyber-joy and pain?
The air thickens with satellite’s coy buzz;
the bees legions lessen without a stain.
Hungry, we eat the space that silence rubs
against our faceless nights, and swallow bytes
our eyes make into sound. You cannot read
these words pretending stillness is quiet,
your head is swimming with black notes that seed
white noise. If silence is golden, the next
life will be cloudless and without a text.

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Elegy to Silence

The outer world staggers and rattles.
Mechanical, animal: gull screech, truck brakes,

thunderous eruptions: calving glacier,
applause, Beethoven’s fifth, singing,

arguing, proselytizing.
Stars form in explosion. Humans too.

The womb whooshes like cymbal brushes,
tidal crashes as the sac ruptures.

Even the deaf say there’s a voice in their heads.

It’s not silence I mourn; it’s the scales
of wind, the cadence of crows, the pitch

of sand receding on shore.
Is silence close to holiness?

Does stilling the mind equal absence
of sound? Only snow muffles the world.

Yet, even in winter my constant companion
is a pulsing hum, an unremitting tinnitus-chorus.

I welcome the heart’s oratorio,
not this persistent mosquito drone.

My hearing mind sieves others words
like a game of telephone, as if through gauze,

jet-lagged time. Words lift: a flock of geese
from a lake, noisily sorting themselves into order.

I cull their consonants, shuffle vowels,
make sense-cairns of phrases, and fear

sliding into evening accompanied
only by a refrigerator

recycling, wholly
disquiet, tolling unmetered.

That tired phrase about silence
means, we shimmer into death.

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Suzanne Edison, MA, MFA is a Seattle poet and the author of the chapbook, The Moth Eaten World published by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry can be found in: Bombay GinThe Naugatuck River Review; Dove Tales: Refugees and The DisplacedThe Ekphrastic Review; The Seattle Review of Books; Spillway; The Examined Life Journal, and in the following anthologies: Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith, Mysticism and Awakening, ed. Joy Harjo & Brenda Peterson, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux; and The Healing Art of Writing, Volume One.

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