A Grammar for War

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo for Phonodia at Bucknell University in London, UK, on the 28th of May, 2015.

Read by Shara McCallum on 28 May 2015

A Grammar for War

After a day when reports of casualties
crackle out of the car radio,

pursuing me as I enter the house at dusk,
eyes wide with seeing,

ears fitted with knowledge
I know neither how to hold nor let drop,

I lay keys on the kitchen table
and scan the air wishing

again I could invent
a lexicon for grief.

If language could recover losses,
words might offer solace

the way a flock of geese follows
a preset trajectory of flight,

the way dawn’s arrival restores the ginkgo’s
mottled shades of green,

the way the mockingbird sings its song,
conjugating the squandered night.

from This Strange Land (Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2011).

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