Poem of Lost Lines

There's the kind of silence that comes after a television breaks,
when its picture turns to blackness and the track of laughter
that had just been lulling us to sleep becomes a crackle of burnt cord.

And the kind that lies in the space around the yellow belly
of a dead bird, a body that had been all song, swept beside the curb.
Once I wrote about goldenrod pushing up after a short sleep

in their valley, compared the sky to an empty slate marked
with claps of eraser's chalk, described how my dog was always barking
at a remnant of sound just outside the fence, though I did not manage

to describe the remnant. None of these lines lived in their songs.
And maybe that's the saddest thing about silence—we never know
what else might have filled it, and we aren't allowed to choose

everything that stays. Those bells in an oak leaf hydrangea
like feather paper, a husband's accidental memory for landscape
and the colors of doors-these may not have been the right pieces

to fill a certain empty track, though they fall easily, like old petals, there.
And maybe I should have ended here, but I want to keep on going,
because the morning of my sister's wedding, I watched boats cross

New York's Harbor, a timeless part of the city, and I didn't know
if those white tips of waves were part of the foam of ocean or birds
in a family at a distance, lightly tossed and swimming. But as I prepared

my toast, I found the words I'd chosen, though they could have been
many other things, slipped through my lips like water,
like paper cranes flown, gifts that had been given a place to land.

Christine Poreba's poems have recently appeared in The Southern Review and The Sun. She currently teaches English as a Second Language to adults and is an Associate Editor for Apalachee Review in Tallahassee, FL. Visit her online at

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761