Our language is one forged from
fists slammed down on desks,
from Teutonic storage bins forged
from fire for cold steel weaponry.
It is a scaffolding for science
measured and contained too small;
a brittle thing matching the metal
that places fences in our pockets.
Our language does not understand
nor have words for sunrise coating
and enmeshing autumn grains
growing where water meets the land.
It does not understand the lightness
filling the dark between trees at night.
The wind moves between its words
as though they were but dried shells.
Our language but mimics the eyes
of fox stealing the eggs from chicks
or taking meat home for the pups.
Our syllables get caught in its fur
and brushed out by brambles
scattered to fleshless tangles of rage.
Our language is one of frustration,
unable and unwilling to be flexible,
unwilling to listen to the words
of welcome that come from your lips,
unwilling to forgive what it does not know.
JARED SMITH’S Collected Poems: 1971-2011 was released in 2012 by NYQ Books. He has nine previous volumes, and has served on the editorial staffs of The New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, The Pedestal, and Trail & Timberline. A former New Yorker, he lives in the foothill of The Rockies outside Boulder, Colorado.