Es wird etwas sein, spater,
das fullt sich mit dir
und hebt sich
an einen Mund
—Paul Celan, Zeitgehöft
There will be something, later,
which fills itself with you
and raises itself
out of a mouth,
—Paul Celan, Time Farm
Out of mouths came a hole in the map
and many songs were sung
in hope that they could mend it.
The songs were sung slowly, the flags and
the old gray banners were still.
The bricks were stained. The streets led
off into the distance.
A woman went by herself to the statue
near the sea and knelt as
she silently prayed to the silence.
The tread of a requiem has strewn the silent prayers
in a perfect circle.
The circle stretches and stretches
and signals a target—
a city built to keep a secret.
Its quiet carries, then it
falls through the streets
and is buried.
The ground is too tired of heaven to listen.
A single circle is sketched on the surface
and the vertebrae of nations stick up through it.
Open the hole up in the map.
Open the hole up and let
the mute witness peer
through the hole to see
the photographs of horrors
hidden in a museum.
The horrors become visible, but
the visible is not spoken.
The visible is not sayable, but
the sayable joins itself
with the visible.
The sayable tears itself away.
The sayable is broken, beaten, emptied.
The sayable travels with the mouth,
it travels and investigates
the temperature of ways met
and the grid on its tongue suggests
it is moving off towards
some design on the surface, and then
deeper, beneath. It is
progressing, a single circle
Its heat raises the word as bread.
Tim Kahl is the author of Possessing Yourself (Word Tech, 2009) and The Century of Travel (Word Tech, 2012). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, The Journal, Parthenon West Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup, and he is the vice president and events coordinator of the Sacramento Poetry Center.