Palimpsest

By Todd Hearon

Featured art: Purple Stylized by Hannah Borger Overbeck

What was the tongue we spoke when the lotus first
unfolded from the navel of the god, the one who dreams
the universe, and in whose ear we must have whispered
our hunger to hold each other? What were words
must now be reflex, shudder, blood, be impulse, pulse
a palimpsest of longing written over
eons, eons ago. If we could scrape
back bone, back blood, back breath to the original
dust the dreaming god himself has long
become, the universal dream a drift of ash
settling in some dark corner of the sun,
would we find ciphered there the DNA
relation to the tongues we speak today
when we want words to say what words can’t say?


Todd Hearon is the author of three collections of poems: Strange Land, No Other Gods, and Crows in Eden. His awards include a PEN New England/”Discovery” Award, the Friends of Literature Prize (POETRY Magazine and the Poetry Foundation), The Rumi Poetry Prize (Arts & Letters) and the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize (Sarah Lawrence College). He recently served as Writer in Residence at the Frost Place and Dartmouth College.

Website: http://www.toddhearon.com

Originally published in NOR 9 Spring 2011

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