WHAT’S WHAT

It’s hard to tell exactly
in this angle of light,
this civil twilight.
Cars passing the house
in either direction
sigh shibboleth
in that old language
I cannot touch.
All this coffee is making me thirsty.
It burns my tongue.
My mother’s tongue.
My mother’s mother’s tongue.
I take another sip
and another, and this
I suppose is prayer:
desire continually made empty,
the closest I get
to understanding the void
doesn’t get filled,
and that’s the point.
Shadows slant the page
begun the night before,
the page black with day.
From this angle it appears
as a hole fringed with light,
an absence drawn
entirely from sound.

David Feinstein