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A word for calm when you're not calm

Posted Mar 15 2013 4:40pm

Sirens, always, in the distance. When I wake, I burn. I turn my head to the right and then the left, no kindle for the fire that burns up and down. The toilet overflows and later we pull our chairs in closer around the small table, the better to enfold the slumped shoulders and bowed head in our embrace. At home, the sink has overflowed, and there's a veil of coffee grounds over it. Sharp words pour out and down, acid to the murk could it be tree roots below.


I slept before a wall of books and they
calmed everything in the room, even
their contents, even me, woken
by the cold and thrill, and still
they said, like the Dutch verb for falling
silent that English has no accommodation for
in the attics and rafters of its intimacies.

Saskia Hamilton (1967)
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