The Words

Through darkness they step
Indian-file and silent
like cloistered nuns
following a single candle.

All that is known of their syntax
flashes upon the screen of the mind
instantly rendering judgment:
keep or dismiss, use or discard,
until with little jostling
they reassemble
into orderly rows of students
or lazy, lounging courtiers
or, sometimes, into beauty.



Originally published inĀ California Quarterly Volume 42 Number 2.