when pride sealed up their hearts and mouths
they have made their own mute liturgy:
the scraping of a chair announces dinner,
the car engine turning signals Mass.
to renounce their wordless rituals,
drop onto the permafrost of their days
a solitary phrase to skitter across
the hardened ground of their silence
but he is, as usual, afraid
to violate the long silence of the years
with the sacrilege of speech.
Published in (Salmon Poetry 2011) and Gllmmer (Cinnamon Press 2010)