~for Okla Elliott
I did not know you and I never will.
Why must breath whittle itself
from the bark of broken dreams
into a quiet fist, holding nothing?
Is this what it means to be tiny,
temporary as a ribbon of light
fluttering across the water?
In the fiber optic ether, they whisper
untruths and vindications,
a eulogy for unfinished works
and the cruel, callous benevolence
of a universe robbing the night,
silencing heartbeats, silencing songs,
drumbeats, the metrical enunciations
of tongues flicking against teeth,
a guitar pick placed perfectly
through three strings in the neck
of a guitar never to be played again,
its cherry-scented case unlatched
at auction, and then museum,
beneath glass and filtered light,
they’ll come from miles
to wonder at the source of magic
and words like timpani behind their eyes,
it’s the common music of lustful love,
threaded and stitched
through every palm, every throat
crying to be heard and held,
held until morning
removes all misconception
about permanence of the dark,
something the insomniacs will never learn.