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Dust is all around us,
it gets in our throats,
I cough,
Nothing is said,
we are drenched in silence,
I scream out,
the emptiness swallows my plea,
I hear the nothingness
and know.

what is nothing?
there is only nothing
when there is expectation
nothingness is only in talk
it is the talking of nontalking
the scream of screamlessness
a `coughless' cough.

Who are you?
the words trickle from my lips
into my ear,
they are wet with the perspiration of labour
and cast a shadow into the darkness,
I am lost again . . .

Which way is home?
the light scatters around me,
I am suspended in the bubbles of exhaling giants,
the air is old
of old books and sweat
and warm,
my skin itches
damp clods of earth cling to my bones.

. . . touch me

we are alone
a paradox of disbelief,
to believe and not believe
that we may know each other and not ourselves,
do you remember love?
fading into the clarity of days to come
we search for new songs
and watch the polyphony grow
in deafening expectation.

Show me
my face revealed in your eyes,
there is nothing else,
all the world is in us,
we are the discourse,
a language
to touch the soul of God
and the self.
or is there a difference
when both escape my sight,
the words of determination.

I am the conversation,
always gone before apprehension
I dissolve in the hearing
and reemerge from the lips of dialogue,
like a tree in a forest of listeners
we are the keepers of self,
the keepers of that which escapes the keeping.
filling the air,
the dust of our own being,
it gets in our throats,
I cough.

© hok, April 2, 1992