I have questions,
questions in the only spoken language I speak,
and so the questions are themselves perversions,
The questions are observers
By their limited and limiting nature
they cannot observe themselves.
What does it mean to speak languages
separate from one’s roots, and nothing else?
I know that answer, you see, but it lies in me
locked and silent, unable, unwilling to form itself,
rebelling, resisting, giving the shackles
something to scrape against.
That soulsilence has no desire to be heard,
cares not about the ears receiving the fall
of the proverbial tree in its forest – only about the ether
undulating around the spatial shift behind the crash.
Some answers deserve to rest wordless.
Since, in these languages, every word is the wrong one,
misshapen and misshaping
the language of Touch,
the language of Setting Out a Saucer of Milk for the Strays,
the language of Coming Home After Endless Turns on the Dance Floor
Then Deep Frying Whatever’s in the Fridge
Before Making Love Long Into Sunrise, the language of What
They Call Passion and Care, where do these things happen?
Where do they happen?
Dys-ancestral languages translate against the will of direct experience
violate the sanctity of Sweeping the Floor in an Injured Friend’s Home.
They lace What They Call Kindness with subconscious
constructs of giver to receiver. Their languages cage and are caged in clusters
of vectors. Their Word for Spiral succeeds “Downward:”
more imposed directionality still.
Ivy Raff’s (she/they) poetry appears in The American Journal of Poetry, Nimrod International Journal, and West Trade Review, among several others. A current nominee for the Best of the Net Anthology, she is a 2023 Alaska State Parks artist in residence, a finalist in the 2021 sweettooth//HONEY Micropoetry Contest. Her work has received scholarship support from the Colgate Writers’ Conference. She’s studied Zen Buddhist approaches to writing under Natalie Goldberg and Subhana Barzaghi, and was selected as the mentee of Kwame Dawes at Atlantic Center for the Arts. Read more at ivyraff.com.