This poem by Jennifer Lighty is very dear to me and is referred to in the previous post, regarding what the real job of a poet is:
The Music of What Is
The curtain billows inward. Wind
carries voices in a language I don’t understand
through the barred window. After three months
I should know more words. In this wind,
my father’s voice telling me how his mother
would rise from the kitchen table, hands lifted
to feed gulls who dropped from the invisible
as soon as she stepped over the threshold.
This wind, lifting the curtain right now, unveiling
the light that burns holes in the street outside
where there are no shadows to shelter
the pregnant dog begging at my doorstep.
Inland, in the dry season, I walked down
until I reached a spring that rose through
underground roots without rippling the surface.
The earth swelled to receive it before giving it back
to the clouds. I sat with reflections as they broke
My grandmother reached for me across
the invisible. We lifted our hands to the gulls.
I don’t need to know what wasn’t said anymore.
Why my father wept behind a closed door.
The thin curtain flutters like butterfly wings,
caressing the bars. Rain begins in between
the bass notes from the bar next door
as the descant of barking dogs bursts
over the town. Outside my door, the pregnant dog
whines for love. I open my lips to receive the rain,
lying on my bed beneath the window,
they pool under my tongue
until I swallow,
drinking the new words.
This poem by Jennifer Lighty is published here with her granted permission. “The Music of What is” is her intellectual property and is ©copyrighted material of the author.