Friday, July 3, 2020

Village of Not Even Anything

Can you count it? Is it one?
When it is so long the parts
Have more than one name for each

Part made from names? No, it’s not
One, but don’t try to count it
All at all. Let’s call it none,

This line made of chain-linked names.
And if the chain’s grown too long,
Far too long to see at once,

Too much none to grasp as whole,
My heart is still fond of it,
And calms down to look at it.

What kinds of chains are these, then,
In which each forged link’s a name
And all the links shape more names,

Names not lives that hiss like snakes?
Should I call them cruel, these chains
Of names that all sum to none?

Were they meant to keep you out?
Were they meant to hold me in?
No, here they’re meant for a bridge

To span this gorge of the falls,
So steep and sharp my heart leaps
Just to look straight down at it.

And why try to span a gorge
With names that could fail and fall?
You’re fine there, and I’m still here,

But if you’ll cross, I’ll show you
A small town that has no name,
No names at all, and my house,

Where all is calm, since the names
Have been chained and thrown to span
The dark, raw cliffs to reach you.

My poor home has lost its voice.
My heart still is fond of it,
And in this, too, there is joy.

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