Lake Effect, Spring 2004, Volume 8: The Ceremony of Opening the Mouth

Douglas Smith


The Ceremony of Opening the Mouth

If God is
a sentence we read
by light,
and if the fall
of that light
spells our bodies
with fear,
and if the threshold
we call a body
conceals with joy
a parable
of erasure, a parable
in a language
we no longer read
or write,
then the noun
we desire
must be a species
of worship,
and the verb
we trace
must be a ladder
of absence,
a ladder descending
like that river
we swim in
from an unknown source
to an open mouth,
a mouth that empties
and empties,
for nothing
completes a river,
nothing completes the body,
more than the collapse,
at last,
into something