After Dinner

by Claudia Lehman

We have the gift of speech, we say,
making full use of it.

But there is an older gift,
waiting in the folds between syllables
and in the unexplained pauses at table
and in the drop of the sparrow between wingbeats:
an old gift granted to many more than we.

The mollusk oozing along unaware of Fibonacci’s spiral,
the faraway stars with no hope of being pinned with a Latin badge,
the octopi studying the swaying corals with wise squinted eyes,
the last passenger pigeon, pausing on a telegraph wire,
the roses shedding themselves and withdrawing into seed,
these all give to the world something our garrulous race never does
until Death catches our aimless racing under his wide blanket.

And what, I wonder,
as I listen in vain to the skies,
could be more true than silence?
Except, perhaps, a very few songs,
played slowly from far away.

IMG-1549Claudia Lehman lives in Paltinis, Romania, with her favorite poet, Kyle. She loves teaching, old books, Earl Grey tea, wildflowers, her comfort zone, and a mongrel puppy called Alice.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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