Recognizing the Fragile Before it Needs Fixing by William Crawford

he never really lost that look
of a kid caught in the Christmas lights
only back then
the null experience
the hook and ladder void
was unknown
the light had a different slant
bending without strain
to find him
laughing at his own thoughts
those days language wasn’t
used as a weapon or defense mechanism–
a brackish moat surrounding lonely castle
filled with snapping turtles
slow surface of broken mirror and smoke
no– the words were Swiss allies
with chocolate watches
and tiny knives to cut cheese
he loved them
the peace they’d bring
sustaining him
like a good woman
that reminded him of mother
only now those lights
seemed empty between blinks
what was there to remember
beyond the words?
the open fields
with actual air secreted
inside green pockets
leaving only the heavy empty
to be breathed
the blackout valleys
and low bald hills
of the English tongue
those words
a weakness
a clumsy surgeon
whose work disfigured
the feeling
what could they possibly say
about this ripped dago red rhapsody
tangled up in the depth of his gut?
the blunt instruments
striking so many bells
in the guarded towers
of his endlessly tolling
restlessly toiling mind
give the tongue to the cat
let her try to explain it
she’s smart enough to know better
he needed a new language
one without mask or trap
a sustenance that offered
enlightenment over obfuscation
he could hear it
he could feel it
changing inside
forming an honest buffer
more light than shield
no rise or fall
just quiet plateau
his exact thought:
how sweet silence sounds
no wonder it’s a song.