Bearing Witness

by Janis Gaines

I sat quietly beside you
In heavy stillness —
Bearing witness.

You didn’t say a word,
Didn’t need to,
And yet some loud pain
Echoed
Violently
Off the hard rocks and knocks
Of some deep cavern within,
Like the hollow gong
Of a grandfather clock.

I felt everything you needed to say
But wouldn’t.
My heart rattled up a storm
As the truth clashed and thrashed
Like blind lightning,
Searing my brain
In some tall tidal wave of grief
That drowns me.

And yet you seem to breathe
Still
Somehow.
Silent.

I looked for a limb of hope,
For something to erase —
To hush the elemental lies
All out of place.
You play deaf and dumb,
But I can see the weathered lines
All over your face.

I sat next to you
In disabled belief
Seeing
Hearing
Knowing
Now

You walk with wind and fire
In a state of grace.

And finally you spoke
With a singular refrain.
Taking wine and bread from the table,
You said, “Have a taste.”

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© May 16, 2013
Asheville, NC

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