Said of them who went to the village for sun or quiet and found quiet.
Said of them who slipped into another’s house and spoke in low notes so as not to be
announced. In all their concealment the house in stone
chipping off the slough of months, the house in stone and its indiscernible
track inside their chests like the dust from the stone walls and its indis-
cernible track on their lips and wrists, said of them who knew the days were brief
though they announced a life went to buy pears from wooden carts
and went to buy bread from the old woman in the store with iron grates
or lemon tarts to be eaten in the stone house to which they fled with their books in hopes of
home in all their concealments from each other said I will be here.
Who heard them heard through the silence of thick stone the smaller silence inside
and the occasional shoe-pat from the sidewalk or heater-knock, for it was still winter
despite the nearby sea and sun, the thinning forms of themselves as they spoke or ate or
full in the fullness of that measure said to touch those who have passed through long
pain and seen themselves under the fine white dust of certain ceilings
as they are, alone, with their impulse to conceal what has grown dense in proportion to the
daily disappointments went
on in that house as the weather warmed and the street-stones warmed under the fretted
red roofs feeling I will be here. How many of you would have stayed
knowing some conviction of inner emptiness was made raw by the presence of each other
and spared only by the presence of each other in fractions of hard gray-
stone in bits and
dusts from the very
walls and words in patterns they spoke with the old-sweet shyness held in each
throat beneath each hour marked twice, once by the village church-bell peal and once by a
distant village church-bell peal’s delay?
Said of them who went to the village: they were there.
As one who prays might press his head to stone.