Today's poem is by Oliver de la Paz

How I Learned Quiet

Begin with slowness—the drag of a candle's flame

down to the guard, and the pump of blood into the heart

as it sinks in the rib cage. Everything was spectacle.

Mother pinched me for squirming. The timetables lied. The games

were un-winnable. The priest looked down upon me

and lo, I was a fidgeting thing. God was in the desert

feeding me cactus flowers and locusts. I sank

my cheek between my teeth and listened

to the helicopters above us. Someone coughed. Someone

held up their hands and let fabric slide down to his elbows.

Copyright © 2010 Oliver de la Paz All rights reserved
from Requiem for the Orchard
The University of Akron Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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