The silence we learned in the womb—all pulse
& push & white noise & stay—is not the silence
of cicadas in winter or a wrecking ball rusting
above a half-ruined farmhouse sold & forgotten
by an oil company or our fathers when the blue
television glow turns to snow & we are meant
to talk about ourselves & the world & each other.
Warm lip pressed to cold lip is not necessarily a kiss.
That a river’s moving unseen under all this ice does
not mean we can still swim our way across it.
There are kids in our yard making men & angels
& cities & love out of the same stuff that sent
that neighborhood boy into a skid that never ended.
But an upside-down pickup truck pooled in unlit gasoline
is not the road to heaven our parents told us about.
& they never did get around to razing the barn
by the farmhouse on the land earmarked for a pipeline.
& if we held cicadas to our ears, it turns out we’d go deaf.