From the Summer 2012 issue of The Antioch Review
They are here to perform. How can I
make them my cocreators, salve
their interruptions of air?
What words will they upstage
with their verdict tapestry? Time needs them,
the way anything large that moves only forward
and cannot stop needs a warning signal.
As a train needs a whistle. The train here sounds annoyed,
but the bells sound patient, as if they are stapling time.
They roll through your thinking saying torn,
torn, until your thinking goes like this:
But I==torn==petually in flux which I thought==torn==
in a tornpacity of singing more at length.
Their sound is leaden, they are so laden
with torn. If you trace a bell to its source,
you’ll find a human trying to trap a magnitude
in bronze. Because a bell’s task is to snag:
to holiday or moan. When bells begin,
it’s best to collaborate with them, to translate them
as best you can. The translation goes:
Don’t get too close, I am time made loud.
There is not enough god to go around.
And what I assume you shall assume.
And there is no peace, no silence, after bells.
The air is too infested by a memory of them.
Their lips screwed long upon the torn.
Alice Fulton received a 2011 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Her eight books include The Nightingales of Troy: Connected Stories; Cascade Experiments: Selected Poems; and Felt, which received the Bobbitt Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. http://alicefulton.com
© 2013 The Antioch Review