An Echo of the Silence of the Dead

by Robert Gibbons

We took our sadness for the world to the orchard.
Nothing but green. Slowly the red, the black bark. Ashes
of our sadness began to lift.
Apple trees absorb
grief, quietly.
Off in the distance we imagined a castle.
Red blanket on long green grass, cloudless blue.
We didn't need to talk,
thoughts too similar to exchange.
The "Keep Out" sign had made no sense to us
at a time like this. Just hours before the autumnal equinox,
we saw shadows move.
Two little yellow butterflies rose up in dance,
a thoroughly interdependent prelude
to sexual encounter.
She wondered what it would be like to sleep out here,
answering her own question with "Cold,"
the word continuing through the orchard, an echo
of the silence of the dead.
The near fruit, the distant invisible
stars, with us as one.

©2001 by Robert Gibbons

Robert Gibbons currently has online work in Stirring, Exquisite Corpse, pith, Slow Trains #1 and The Fox in the Snow. Recently, Gargoyle Daily featured a 101 word story as part of its Literary Lights series. His prose poems appeared in the Winter and Spring issues of The Drunken Boat. More of his work is forthcoming from Conspire, Frank, from the online magazine published by the Dublin Writers' Workshop, and from Electric Acorn. A third chapbook of prose poems, This Vanishing Architecture, will be published this summer by Innerer Klang Press, Charlestown, MA.

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