Issue 92 - Jake Adam York

by Jake Adam York

--- For John Earl Reese, a 16-year-old, shot by Klansmen
through the window of a cafe in Mayflower, Texas,
where he was dancing, October 22, 1955

Before the bird's song
you hear its quiet

which becomes part of the song
and lives on after,

struck notes bright
in silence

as the room's damp---
wallpaper and wall

muffling the high cicadas'
whine, mumbling

talk from another room---
hangs like the thought

of a roof in the midst of rain
long after the joists

have been brought down.
So the quiet

syllables crowded
full-throats once the talkers

have gone away,
and a young man's voice

becomes a young man's
silence, all

he did not say,
which nothing keeps

saying in the empty room
between the pines

that hold the quiet
of the song he cannot sing,

the sound of a room
without sound

in the middle of what
anyone can hear.