Volume 27, Number 2

Stutter Song

Its drumming succeeded in drowning
everything but the White noise and
hues that refused to wait and pushed questions
like bomb atoms or anything through
these windy streets ringing and winding the
way smalls of backs shadow or the way
skyscrapers’ posturing of height cast
nothing of what it wrote or left or shed or
tumbling and tumbling like hands once
raised for each other to ask when children
learn to run or whisper of reasons why no
colors live here aside from darkest Purples
sputtering to a slow remembrance just to
ask what words it or sidewalks should repeat
to make most of this and tightly hold hold
palms and feet not flat but piercing like 12
million voices peering through cracks or
crumbling against church towers steepling
like thinking fingers or smoking trucks, 12-
wheelers, and their grumbling and their horns
just to thin in ice ice and idling air as if the
White noise was enough to sing all things
warm or like its requite might be honey sweet
like bees or breathe the way commas breathe
or plead for the let-there-be-lighter Purples,
violets even, and ricochets living for each
bounce heard in its bubbling bubbling bubbling
Black overwrought with failed dialects and
dialectics that post-cede them but we all
know you still hear it because, now, the
drumming sits and stutters without measure
the way paint cans paint cans and stutter
boldly spouting Olympus against
these walls and asking what Atlas shouldered.
He held his family there, too, and rendered
the rest of us fleas waiting and waiting
to be counted.

—Albert Thomas