A Forgotten Dialect

“…as I go out to get
more water from the well and happen to look up
through the bright stars. Yes, yes, I say
and go on pulling the long rope.”

-Jack Gilbert

Again, I’ve waited for an old man
to die before beginning to speak.
Always to a night and its moon
and to the quiet vibrations of stories
in the sky. Easy to remember now
what Jack said: We do not need stars.
Only the memory of them.
Is it a rite of passage to disagree?
It must be my youth, somewhere
at the tops of my knees, uneasy
and alive. I move about and wage war
with old questions trying to escape
my mouth. The answers already
on the page: All the sky is a memory.
That thing you call sadness too.
They come from nowhere.
The world is an open mouth.
A wound in the soul of God.
That nameless ache is a boy
in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, pulling.

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