When hearts swell or crack
there are no words—
words are not
life, but keep us alive
when we are not living.

Why is it
we speak so much?

I have never looked at a cricket
without knowing it was a cricket,
yet the experience is not cricket.

Without words we see
lichen, jetties, the cold glare
in city windows; we mend
rips and tears; we hear
the concert of sparrows; we
finger the rim of beauty.

You and I might meet and sway
like two branches in
a breeze, our skins
completing each other’s
landscape, only jagged
breath to puncture rhythm.

My eyes and fingers you may read,
and if you slow down and listen
you will hear yourself inside
of me, blowing like a hundred
leaves on a forest trail.

And if I move while you are not
looking do not ask why:
there are peat mounds and brambles
that will know where I have gone.

©Matt Pasca

excerpt from A Thousand Doors (J.B. Stillwater, 2011) and published here with the author’s permission

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