Main Entry: sot·to vo·ce

Pronunciation: "sä-tO-'vO-chE
Function: adverb or adjective
Etymology: Italian sottovoce, literally, under the voice
1 : under the breath : in an undertone; also : in a private manner
2 : very softly -- used as a direction in music

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

in your absence | audio poem

this is an audio post - click to play

The milk is back. As in Paris,
I am filling again with something
that must be sweet, good.
I find it as I drive, the highway
blurring, the speedometer
pricking ninety-five, the
wetness there. This time, you are
gone. I cannot speak or write
of love between us. does it bridge
such distance, love? I feel it
but know that our elastic band
can only stretch so far. Hadn’t
you once said it had broken?
By some awful miracle, we had
lost that thing that bound us
and found ourselves alone, walking
wounded, zombified by grief
the dark, swollen eyes of the lost.

I am nothing without you.
We say it is wrong to need,
to have to have, as if in having
or needing there were a choice
as if any man were truly an island.
I am an isthmus, sea crashing
on three sides, she throws her
grey silks, sucks hard and rough
leaves me raw and dizzied.

The land will not let her have me.
It has attached, the way you
put your arms on my waist
hold me firm in a gale. Your hard
ness pressing. I am all want
This is need.
Without you, I am the sea’s dark
mermaid, asleep in a fossil-curl
waiting for the risen tide,
the waves to lick, the sleep to calm.