Lawrence Wray

Pebble Twig Grass Feather

She repeats their names, lengthening

vowels—an archaic incantation,

the thing itself lifting its earthen

being for us.  In and out of the mulberry

shade, the body comes,

hers and mine, and one other

we piece together.  The body

of first things she sounds out,

turning them over and over—Pebble  Twig  

Grass  Feather.   In her breath a chant

shapes us, utters and shapes us,

then and then.  Not one without

the other, but lifted into each, she

puts them in my hand to wonder at,

struck by that isishness prayers cleave

to—Twig  Feather  Pebble.  

She borrows the sounds and returns  

the breath one by one.  A blackish

purple stains our fingers.  The berries

taste of sweet dirt.  Bees crisscross

the succulent flesh that opened

on ground where the berries drop.

There is always by then another

near to hand—not solely her,

skin still soft from her mother's womb—

and now my shadow quails

like leaves at her heels.  But hungry,

waited for, immersed—Pebble  Twig  Grass.

One that in the sunlight comes,

mere, and carries the future of speech.

Lawrence Wray's poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, Weave, Black Horse Review, and Sentence, as well as Prime Number, qarrtsiluni, Blood Lotus, and Naugatuck River Review. Work is also forthcoming in Sin Froneras/Writers Without Borders.



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