Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Bells

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Bells

Article excerpt

Wind with barely a world in its path makes no sound.

And then the banner lifts and flutters. The one hand claps.

Bronze comes invisibly to life, and the startled temple

mourns the missing hand. Who here is not a child of bells.

They blow to song the abstracts of men through the open

garret. Who is it now, I wonder. And the bells turn back

to stone. Today I watched a movie of the killing. I thought,

perhaps, it would make me wise, responsive, or, in excited

horror, prone to see suspicion blown into a monster. I

am just one hand after all. A man is there. I do know this.

Bones of light, flesh of shadow, and as the gun goes off,

the wind of the known trajectory blows an abstract of men

through the open lesion. Who here is not a child.

Fire moves through broken windows and the figures in

a riot, and the names get taken down or lost. Night burns.

Embers graze the eye, but the movie does not change.

Characters are cast, in bronze this time, committed, bound

to mistakes they made or suffered or deepened by neglect.

Those who walk the tear gas go unseen. Some are pulled

aside, questioned, searched, and never found. Others

hang in the heart of the bayou like bells, and no one hears.

Some walk the pathless walk of bronze in the tower.

Forward and back, the stride of the breath and the broom

and the hasp of the flag beaten into wind and cinders. …

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