Lips move in constant procession,
printing pageantry on newspapers
to turn a profit:
headlines of heartache
and the weight of grief.
I watch the eyes and hands—
they hold nearer to the truth.
Sometimes in yours I see a flicker,
somewhere beneath the iris pools,
like a glint off of the stone that sank us,
and wonder at what you cannot say.
Weight does not call and cry, it sits
frozen like a glacier at the center, compounding,
carried as it crushes. And I
scan all faces for the creases of pressure
and fingers for the tinge of frost.
One cannot call a crowd’s attention
to that which has no name.
But a single bearer may see
how you drag your body beneath a smile,
and wonder—have you known?
Have you savored the orchestral swell and known
the dead way limbs hang
in the reverberating silence
beyond a heartbeat’s final note—
wrestling to applaud
beneath immobile arms
and hands welded to your ribcage
like an art piece
meant to depict the irony
of how the greatest works are never appreciated
in their time?
Has some runner passed you the baton
and bid you carry on the work
(or thrown it to the ground
and dared you pick it up)
and having spent your best-laid years
training for this race,
have your legs fallen numb beneath you?
I have no lips to print papers,
nor ears to hear them read.
But my legs have grown strong beneath the stone,
and my arms, though cold and stiff,
now press with greater force.
I have no warmth to melt the silent weight.
But if your limbs fail to bear it, know
that I have learned to lift.
Shigé Clark is a poet and contributor to The Rabbit Room blog. She grew up a wild southern child in Alabama and studied Psychology at West Point. After spending some time as an Army officer, she is now pursuing her masters degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Shigé believes in the power of poetry and story to shape our lives toward redemption, and she hopes to continue supporting that mission through her current work at The Rabbit Room. You can follow Shigé and her poetry on Facebook and Instagram. She recently published her first book of poetry, “The Beauty of People.”
Artwork by Eric Peters.