Muted gestures

Say we lost our voices, our bodies deciding how skin would be the new scale for song, how touch becomes the message, the morse code, the only means- a grip, a tug, the soft swish of hair, that brush of hand becomes inscribed in a language no longer needing the sharp edges of letters, no longer being bound by a barrier of air- say how much would you want this, and here is my hand: see the frightened, hesitant palm with its fingers dancing despite the cold coating it, despite the night, reaching out, a hymn aching to begin from the quickening beat of your pulse-

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One of many methods

The problem with anger is
it leaves no room
for the imagination. Consider taking
a long stick, sharpening its edges
with a knife (you may wish to use
later on). Imagine all the soft portions of skin covering
the vulnerable areas of a body impaled. Describe what you see.
What is the color of the blood? Qualify
its viscosity. Do not say it oozes. Tell me
of rivers and the diameter of wounds. Describe
what you see. Peel off the skin
if it pleases you; feel
the edges of bone. Let your fingers unhinge
arteries from where they cling. If you dislike piercing
barriers of skin, try areas already left
open: eyes, mouth, ears. The body
before you will offer no resistance. Observe
the organs as they struggle. Place your palm
on the soft cushion of a lung, the hushed pumping
of a dying heart. Watch the light leave
the body’s eyes. Describe what lies
before you. Speak of how blood dries into flecks
on the rough surface of your hands, how you hold
knife and stick close to your chest,
as though they were your own appendages
waiting for another moment to unfurl.

To die is

a movement of fading
into absence, be reminded
of what you will soon become
by the slow passing

of your senses. See them exit
through the shattered door
of your body: the first to leave
is Sight – covering your view

with a soft apology, clothing the world
in darkness. Consoling you
as it makes its way out with the others –
Smell, quietly but reluctantly trailing off

with Touch and Taste, leaving Memory –
its deceitful fingers made of light,
crafting everything you’ve known
of happiness – to dissuade you

from resisting this natural course. Hearing stays,
twiddles its thumbs and waits awhile longer,
as the rest of them turn into spots
in a landscape you can no longer see. It waits

only to depart once it believes
the world has nothing left
to tell you. Your voice is the last hymn
you will hear. How it calls some name

you are not given time to remember.