To the Silence
I pick a lowly plum from an overhanging limb:
bypassing judgment of those closest
to the sky, in high rise stones, those
who ride their thin skin higher than heaven
that fits in the smallest hand.
Below thick branches the narrow weave
of this moment casts gray and black shade,
on the faded sun of your summer dress
and blonde wooden sandals:
each small thought rises and falls
under the pregnant silence inside you;
all eyes curve with this sunset:
dirt from every sunrise covers children
left at home, recently made from earth
always in need of scrubbing.
I smell red shadows under green, serrated
leaves, and the cooling bittersweet edges
of autumn. The patio around us:
dry crumbs crease the bricks; each person
seated cushioned in metal chairs. One-by-one
the lull sets more leaves free from the tree.
Breathing here follows moon-shaped light rises
over the horizon that once belonged to the sun.
You take the plum, and I leave the next moment
for you, knowing tree bark dries, loses color.
Sweet and sour winds blow on either side of you.
After a movie, houses spin below silver stars.
Inside, children with steady wings pace.
True, more ripening seeds stain those gathered
from outside. But tonight disappears around you,
along with every shadow from moonlit sleep.
I dream of stars on the edge of all spirit
becoming moonlight, falling on the silence
of any day ending in your eyes.
Your eyes are brightest now, like birds sweeping
from branch to branch, tapping dark plums to feed.
If the wind blows true north, they will flutter,
fly away into the next moment and land.
Your heart pounds in blue air like a drum. Artistic intent
in the museum silence falls over marble floors:
stray portraits balanced floor to ceiling; and walls lost
to smuggled lines. I always gained flesh until yours.
Fragrant fingertips walk through a room, down a hall, to a door you close
to footsteps and what you call your own—bittersweet cassia and cinnamon,
calamus and myrrh mixed with precious oils. Once more you pay priests
a ransom for their stolen secrets.
I’ve known you best with cassia. Cassia adulterates cinnamon, lessening its purity.
In debasing, an odor more yours than mine, you press a bottle to both wrists.
Hands rub each side of your neck; palms up stretched towards the moon.
A smile keeps those bound closer, those who never sing; wanting made less by
work in the heat of day. Only then did I walk India’s lemon grass to bind the roots
In the cool of morning I gather myrrh resin from East Africa. Bitter Arabian shrubs bear small, green flowers and oval fruit; one of many colors in your eyes. I’ve dried tropical bark from trees planted and drawn into spice: sweet, evergreen cinnamon never older than you are young.
Tomorrow: what strengthens me is never mine alone. Today, I’ll draw beauty
from your perfume; thoughts poured through sifted heartbeats. But you know calamus
in ways I cannot: a sweet rush of Pan’s pipes, a measure ten feet long, and a feather quill
used by those who seek favor or to own you. Egypt’s journey is many days and nights
to add what is unknown, to forget what’s unkind or common.
Finally, the smell of trees turned to drums—blended olive woods hewn from smooth, gray limbs, bark that cracks into scales. But this is not beauty that knows forever: frail skin breaking in time.
No, beauty is inside a heartbeat, a thought shared with another, beneath fragrant racemes.
While I barter for fruit that will fall in darkness time like lilies of the valley, hangs a row
of yellow-white flowers in sunlight grown on a single stem.
—About the Author—
PM Flynn is a North Carolina writer. With a B.S. in English from East Carolina University, he roasts organic coffee and is published in many fine print and online magazines including Helen Literary Magazine, the Fictional Café, Main Street Rag, the Grassroots Women’s Project, Port Folio Weekly, the Mirror/Slush, Anti-Heroin Chic, 50 Haikus, Fleas on the Dog Online Quarterly, CactiFur, Agape Review, BlazeVox, Words & Whispers, Straylight, Stickman Review, etc.
About the Art & Artist
“These three images are digital collages. They are constructed by reforming images of flowers in order to represent them as more deeply conscious of this interconnected world. As you might expect, they are only able to communicate through, form, color and their aromatic perfume.”
Bill Wolak has just published his eighteenth book of poetry entitled All the Wind’s Unfinished Kisses with Ekstasis Editions. His collages and photographs have appeared as cover art for such magazines as Phoebe, Harbinger Asylum, Baldhip Magazine, and Barfly Poetry Magazine.