Morning Riff by Mara Lemanis

Morning Riff by Mara Lemanis 


Morning Riff


What is it when

the words you hear march

through your morning light

and turn your first-born seedlings

into tinder

and make crusts that form

a rust ring round your heart;


What is it when

the words you hear

make magnets for your

firstborn loves

and sweep into debris

whatever does not hold

whatever was first dropped

and left to die unloved;


What is it when

the words you hear

are like the choked sound

of a body caught in tar

or sounds that ring

like hammers

striking down whatever

never must be loved;


What is it then

when all the mornings

of the world

ring out at once

but you hear just a chant

 indelible, incessant

like bagpipes in the rain

or trumpets scraping wind on glass

or zithers trembling down a lonely scale…


They make a riff

that binds you

to the sounds first heard

the words that trained your thought

like manacles

and played your love

against the mornings

of the world.


Mara Lemanis