Morigerati; Deafness

Once I heard an artist say,
with the vanity of artists,
The sound of the water says what I think.

But this morning deep in the theatres
of karst beside the Bussento River,
its haystacks and souse holes,

its eddies and satin water pillows,
a boy with a withered arm
and his mother with a withered arm

pointed to the brilliant blue dragonflies
hovering over the face of the water,
a blue that does not exist in nature

except as an interference between
reflections from crystalline gratings,
the color of light at odds with itself,

the small friction across lattices of thought,
a resistance resulting in speech
as the woman painting the belly

of another woman who was pregnant,
near the cool drench of maidenhair,
said It was love got us this way

when I asked Who taught the stone to flower
as acanthus below the cliff
and then carved it back into stone?

But the river said nothing at all.
The maple tosses its new crown,
opening those passages
the small birds love, closing them again,

but air has been scrubbed of that treble.
I noticed first on the avenue,
after the stillness of the concert hall,

and assumed it would return, since
it was late and I was tired
and there had been light and conversations

—not lead me to this granite shore
and the panting of small waves
between expostulations of wild aster,

or the wheedling of the little pulley
attached to the catalpa trunk
as the children’s pegged laundry

inches forward out of shadow,
the gussets antic with bright color
—not leave me to remember how,

on my walk, I passed it every day,
the harpsichord in a closed house,
still propped for someone’s hands to play,

until its silence was routine,
on the lid a painted sky with clouds:
and then one day that too was gone.