The Goddess of Laying Words Down One By One

The Goddess of Laying Words Down One By One – Neile Graham

I whisper them, my prayers to her. I pace them out,
an iambic limp, from room to room to door to wind.
That wind blows through me, as it should. I’m gaping
with holes.

Holy holes, but hollow. Hallowed holes but fallow.
The wind curls in and out of them, chill then warm,
filling and emptying each gap. Oh, I can wax rhapsodic
but shallow.

This is the hard news: we have lost everything we thought
was certain. We have to rebuild, here in the barrens,
with our only tools our hands. Lay bricks down, word by word
for shelter.

Sheltering bricks, but battered. Scattered bricks and tattered.
The wind pools and pours, thin then thick, mortaring each gap
with toil and prayer. Building, building. We will regain it all. Each
syllable matters.

Neile Graham is Canadian by birth and inclination but is a long-term Seattle resident where she can still live close to ocean and rainforest. In 2017 she won a World Fantasy Award for her work with Clarion West Writers Workshop. New poetry collections The Walk She Takes is scheduled for 2019 and Cedar and Stone for 2020. She also has three previous books, and a spoken-word CD. See for more info.