Poetry: Things to Do with Silence by Romana Iorga

The mouth of a well brims with silence.
Quench your thirst, carry it forth
wherever you go. The path
will lead back to it
some distant tomorrow.

Break your bread in silence.
Words scatter like wind.
Learn from the tree, its roots
gathering darkness, its branches—
a harbor for birdsong and rain.

Is silence a home or the place
you ran away from?
How do you flee what is closer
than your own skin?

Remember these: the heft
of a sleeping child, half-
unlatched, hair matted with sweat;
the sound of cowbells
drifting downhill; the book
you climbed into, as in a womb.

Remember the light threading
through clouds, the boat
alone on the lake, and high up,
the flight of that bird
whose wings you yearned for.

Silence, potent like wine.
Silence, filled with sighs.

A generous lover
when others do nothing but want.
Her able hands knead
your body, untying knots,
scooping handfuls of flesh
between shoulder blades,
making room
for those wings.

Originally from Chisinau, Moldova, Romana Iorga lives in Switzerland. She is the author of two poetry collections in Romanian. Her work in English has appeared or is forthcoming in Bellingham Review, Lunch Ticket, American Literary Review, and others, as well as on her poetry blog at clayandbranches.com.

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