Josephine Jacobsen Poems >>
Language As An Escape From The Discrete

I came upon two wasps
with intricate legs all occupied.
If it was news communicated,
or if they mated or fought,
it was difficult to say of that clasp.


And a cold fear because I did not know
struck me apart from them, who moved,
whose wasp-blood circulated,
who, loveless, mated, who moved;
who moved and were not loved.


When the cat puts its furred illiterate
paw on my page and makes a starfish,
the space between us drains my marrow
like a roof's edge. It drinks milk,
as I do; one of its breaths is final.


And even the young child, whose eyes
follow what it speaks, to see in yours
what it will mean, is running away
from what it sent its secret out to prove.
And the illiterate body says hush,


in love, says hush; says, whatever
word can serve, it is not here.
All the terrible silences listen always; and hear
between breaths a gulf we know is evil.
It is the silence that built the tower of Babel.