Who Is to Say
Who is to say that the House of Tongues is not that place where rats swarm around your feet under blooming sofas is not that place of poisoned snows, pens run dry and secrets now too late to know and certainly the murmuring there below was a mur- was a mur- was a murmuring almost to be heard a bubbling like water invisible, underneath And look the shadow of a wing does fall here as blood does drink deeply of itself and does whisper yes for no Once these faces behind glass might have returned your glance might even have gathered up their limbs, in order to stand Who is to say that certain of their words did not spill out as far as the eyes of cats could see across the river in the dark Leningrad 15 sept 90
From "Three Russian Songs" in At Passages, published by New Directions, 1995. Copyright © 1995 by Michael Palmer. Reprinted with permission.