Ghost Sounds

Sounds die,

the whoosh of a Steller’s sea cow’s breath

Advertisement

erased a few decades after discovery, the echo-

locational click of baiji river dolphins,

each coo and cluck of passenger pigeons

in flocks so thick they snapped branches.

Sounds haunt audio wax museums.

The kent and rap-tap double knocks of ivory

bill woodpeckers survive in recordings

from one forest tract in Louisiana.

Would a piano be whole if it lost a key,

an orchestra complete if eight measures of tympani

were all that endured,

sampled repeatedly in hopes a cryptic bird rejoins?

Come on. Come on. Come on, now. Come on.

Scanning bare trees at dawn

I tap the rhythm of waves lapping the shore,

touch my brother’s gravestone at Ouvry,

silent, incomplete, because I never knew him,

never heard the sound of his voice.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
More: Poetry

The latest from america

His face painted red with urucum, a man participates in a march by indigenous people through the streets of Atalaia do Norte in Brazil's Amazon region on March 27, 2019. Indigenous were protesting a central government plan to turn control of health care over to municipalities, in effect destroying a federal program of indigenous health care. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
But the Pan-Amazon Synod’s organizers say much of the unhappiness with the its working document simply reflects Eurocentricism. Many critics “have little knowledge of the Amazon and in some cases have no commitment to its people.”
Eduardo Campos LimaSeptember 20, 2019
Migrants from Central America seeking asylum in the United States cross the Rio Grande near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on June 11. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters)
The U.S.C.C.B. and Jesuit leaders have renewed their criticism of the Trump administration's treatment of migrants.
Kevin ClarkeSeptember 20, 2019
The first Latino pope and Hispanic Heritage Month
J.D. Long-GarcíaSeptember 20, 2019
Tania Tetlow, president of Loyola University New Orleans, remembers her friend and mentor Cokie Roberts, who passed away on Sept. 17.
Tania TetlowSeptember 20, 2019