The Silence

The hen cocks its head, levels its eye, curls its ancient foot against a rising breast and stands immobile. Glawks and struts on. Shits. Gluts a hopper. Furls and flutes in stone.

***

Manic pinballs in a towering head, the hail casts up into frozen light, tops like breath then falls again to the warming fog. Whispering down through blackened clouds, the hailstones brake, then rise again on summer’s bellied heat. Hurtled back up ripping out to frigid blue, so donning another glacial rind, they arc and fall. Down fall the growing orbs of ice, weighting hail to deepening wet, spinning slow and up again to meet their twin.

In Birch Hill’s Community Hall, the boy’s Nocturne falls away to roaring heavy hailstones down and crashing on our hall’s zinc roof. Staccato hammering to thundering tide the immensity deepens, pulls up into its silent core, then goes. Riven and held, the silence bears: no word, no sigh, no twisting chair, no crop this year. Pulped and threshed, stripped and stoned in swallowing muck: no crops this year yet piano trickles in the swollen hall. Gnarled hands, tractor grease buried in cracks and whorls, clap, and return to laps for Girl’s Chorus. After the final act, relatives and parents file onto the crystal prairie, silent and luminous, so clarified it burns the throat, and witness their loss.

***

No time. No fear. Just still.

In shrieking rend of crashing steel, tongued-out from silent bearing stone (this motorcycle)(that spinning Jeep) each crawled to each across the Jersey Pike at rushing speed and melded in this last, this final act. Die into screeching single bright, through gem-stoned glass, a distant hole, the tumbling car in scarlet flames, a vast complete unaltered roar. Blistering orbs, the crusted bone and twisting flesh loft up in clear stone light: a stillness vast and all is seen, in luminous endless detailed all. Spun through a vortex deepening black of sucking radiant colored ribs till blue near Exit 5.

Brian Wood, Red Rock, NY, 09/09

Brian Wood. "Near Exit 5", 2006, Oil on canvas

Brian Wood. "Near Exit 5", 2006, Oil on canvas