December 06

Shulamith Speaks

Jehanne Dubrow

Silence is also speech. – Yiddish proverb

It’s also speech—those words his body chalks
on me, and I on him, our sheet-white terms
which need no voice to occupy a room.
I can talk about his collarbone for weeks
but don’t. I’d rather touch his face, become
his skin’s interpreter. Why should I shake
our sleep with languages? What breaks
inside the mechanism when our limbs
are labeled Arm or Leg?

                  The hinges creak.
Our flesh-and-blood machine which used to hum,
self-lubricating, metrical, will jam
where wheels collide with wheels: the axle spokes,
the teeth, the slot and corresponding hook,
not thrumming ecstasy, but stopped and dumb.



Jehanne Dubrow is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, Tikkun, and the New England Review.