Roy Herndon Smith

A child laughs, across the street, a flash of red.
A barking dog, cars rush, continuities
break—cough of a starting car, mother speaking
in rhythms slipping into abrupt stillness.
We don’t comprehend anything that occurs—
silky cool sheer smoothness of morning quiet.

I intend to write, unintended quiet
steals the written words. Across the street, the red
is gone—cicadas shimmering. What occurs—
chickens clucking—calm of continuities—
occurs. Morning repetitions—the stillness
stopping, the unspoken absence is speaking.

Absence of child laughing and mother speaking
remains the dark in which the light, the quiet
of the sun’s hot speech, washes all with stillness.
Intending, desiring, willing—all the red
reaches open empty continuities
in which clamoring serenity occurs.

We don’t want what we know, we want what occurs,
the difference between spoken and speaking,
known past laughs and unknown continuities,
memory of red flash and present quiet
everyday bliss in perceiving rusty red
roofs, mystery of transfiguring stillness.

Tonight, tree frogs’ chirruping defines stillness,
distance between cars’ susurruses occurs,
stop light changes the cosmos from green to red,
white screen’s silent ground of wordy not speaking,
manhole covers’ clank-n-clank make the quiet
losses resonate as continuities.

Drifting, resonating continuities,
losing me in you in sentient stillness,
the black sky, the far sea, the earth are quiet.
The fact is, discontinuity occurs
continually in unspoken speaking.
The cosmos is green, then the cosmos is red.

Shifting continuities make what occurs,
stillness’s reverberations in speaking,
green’s quiet blurring on the edges of red.