By Edward Butscher

Overheard in childhood’s hiding place

the voices of adults at a funeral feast

were indistinct from lack of Italian grace

after Nana or grandpa mumbled their last.


Hurled across intercontinental distances

by technicians unable to distinguish flesh

from the ice sheen of machines or numbers,

unheard drones slash blood on burnt steel,

smash lumber bodies, unlike the rockets that

screamed before caving in London rooftops

during the Blitz—blared over the parlor radio

as Nana sang at grandpa’s clenched, unlit pipe.


Louder in echoing ears as the years descend,

they surgically prep us for silence’s end.


Edward Butscher is the author of first biographies of Sylvia Plath and Conrad Aiken, as well as shorter books on Adelaide Crapsey and Peter Wild, much criticism, and several books of poems, most recently, Eros Descending.

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