Postscript to Silence
After the palm has clasped the hot, white iron, the pain whispers slow as the march of torches up the ridge. Perverse lava, flowing up, pine-knots flicker their shirts, their hoods, white as eschar. You hear the crackle, the whip, later on. Here, lips part but make no sound. Words suppurate slowly, halving then halving their distance to your ears, moving like bees in a cry of amber. How old will you be when they arrive, when you remember the tissue your mother brought to her tears, watching the fire climb through the window, how white it was, when you remember the sound of what you did not hear? That’s when you’ll feel the burn, when you’ll feel the shape of those words, even the ones she could not say.