In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up
and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
There is no silence like the night by the train station
after trains leave, after moonset, after Venus moves
in an arc across the night to a spot blocked by Earth.
There is no silence like the brown bag, wet, crumpled, worn,
the doorway filled with sack and trash, the way the eye
speaks so loud the man with weather-beaten skin cannot.
There is no silence like the one in the tongue, between fat taste buds
and epiglottis where words wait for tooth and breath and nerve,
where threat floods the brain, knocking thought out.
What silence can there be for him when all sound is threat, when outside
is razor wind, when smell rims the nose with citrus piss, when inside is
forbidden, or more daggers from a daddy’s hand, or food used cruelly?
The desert stretches dawn to dusk. Pray.
The morning is still very dark. Pray.
Pray, make a place for a silence that is safe.