After a mother is born inside of me, I ask the child of silence to guide me, little boy or girl candle bright in the darkness trembling with gratitude and his new feet an offering, her little hands reaching up to touch my face. And I ask for the child of silence to almost whisper a new name so that the almost-whisper becomes a hush, a sigh, some small sprig of breathing in the dark of myself where the truth or God lives, a breath of life the ferns know so weaving well in late summer greenness, the radishes dug out of the earth so that the soil still clings to their roundness, tattered clothing falling back to the ground.

I ask the child of silence to guide me through the woods and to wade with me in the rivers over the gleaming rocks and pebbles and the rising hearts of fishes who set my faith on fire and my love of the earth so vast my arms aren’t big enough to hold it, my tongue can hardly say it—the child of silence is choking me with joyful and sorrowful tears that geysers up from the base of my throat and I am raging animal, burning bush, a human way to go down Moses, a 1,000 ways to kiss the ground as Rumi once said, the kindest, gentlest thing you ever did in your life, a whisper in your beloved’s ear after lovemaking, a balled-up handkerchief wet with tears, sopping almost, Sitka-laden, a whole rainforest of feeling, shooting doves with arrows made of poems so that they fly even higher, carrying our love-most thoughts and feelings ever loftier—and I beg of the child of silence to teach me how to be still and forgive, to let go of all transgressions either I or others have committed, to wash again in pools of pellucid water and forever seeing, to flow where the life force is flowing, to hereby and forthwith admit of rife absurdities, tweed pants and every windblown vanity, an ozone of false conceits forever blowing away, the child of silence leading me now, falling down on her knees and crawling on his belly asking for the silence to take us into its churchly bosom, begging the silence to soften and heal the heart of every wayward stone.

Robert Vivian is the author of The Tall Grass Trilogy, Water And Abandon, Cold Snap As Yearning, The Least Cricket Of Evening, and Mystery My Country. He has co-written Traversings with the poet, Richard Jackson. He teaches at Alma College and at The Vermont College Of Fine Arts.